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20 years jail for WA hammer killer

AAP logoAAP 27/07/2016

A WA man who killed his cannabis dealer by bashing his head with a hammer at least 21 times has been jailed for 20 years.

Shannon John Davies, 39, admitted murdering 25-year-old Reuben Gerard Stack while he was burgling his East Fremantle house on the morning of May 21 last year.

The Supreme Court of WA heard during sentencing on Wednesday that Davies decided to rob Mr Stack because he knew he had large amounts of cannabis at the Moss Street home, having previously bought the drug from him.

Davies, a chef who had also supplied cannabis to Mr Stack, had debts and had already robbed the property in September 2014.

The court heard that on the second occasion, he smoked a cigarette nearby while waiting for the victim's father to leave, assuming nobody was home because he couldn't see anyone through the windows.

After he broke in through an upstairs window, he stole five kg of cannabis and stashed it in his car.

But when he returned looking for more to steal, he made enough noise to wake Mr Stack, who emerged from his bedroom and shouted "what the f*** are you doing, man?".

Davies lashed out with the hammer he'd used to prise the window open, hitting Mr Stack forcefully in the eye.

While Davies claimed he continued to bludgeon Mr Stack because he didn't think he'd survive the initial blow and "wanted to put him out of his misery", Justice Bruno Fiannaca said the real motivation was not wanting to be caught.

"You continued to rain blows in his head with the hammer as he lay on the floor," Justice Fiannaca said.

"It was a brutal, persistent and merciless assault on a defenceless victim."

The court heard Davies - who claimed he was drug-affected as he'd stayed awake on methylamphetamine for four days before the attack - continued to rob the house after the murder.

He returned to the property hours later to remove a cigarette butt he realised he'd left behind.

Later that afternoon, Mr Stack's brother found his sibling lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood.

Justice Fiannaca said Davies must serve 20 years behind bars before he can be eligible for parole.

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