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Pair jailed over Sydney drugs murder

AAP logoAAP 22/09/2016 Toby Mann

Drug growers Stanley Forward and Donald Cameron feared Jacob Munro would ruin their big pay day from a lucrative cannabis crop.

So they stabbed and tasered him to death in western Sydney in July 2014 before dumping his body in a state forest north of Newcastle.

On Thursday Forward and Cameron were sentenced for what NSW Supreme Court Justice Desmond Fagan described as a "coldly planned elimination".

Cameron was jailed for a minimum of 22 years over the murder and drug charges while Forward was sentenced to at least 15 years and five months.

Five months after the killing, Mr Munro's body was found in a grave at Bulahdelah State Forest, about 15m from the road.

Justice Fagan found Mr Munro was murdered in an attempt by the drug growers to keep their immense hydroponic operation secret and avoid detection.

"The cannabis was for financial gain," he said, adding that 664 plants had been found in raids.

Police estimate the plants could have fetched up to $3 million.

A plan to kill Mr Munro was hatched by Forward, who asked Cameron "do you mind if it's messy", as the men wanted to remove Mr Munro from their operation.

They had paid for him to move to a trailer park but were concerned Mr Munro would react badly if fired from the operation and may inform on them, or fleece their crops.

"(Cameron) feared Mr Munro would 'bring heat to the crop'," Justice Fagan said.

Mr Munro was lured back to the growing operation on the pretence of work and collected from his nearby caravan by Cameron.

The day started normally, with the men trimming plants before Forward struck.

He grasped a knife he had earlier stashed and stabbed Mr Munro's neck.

Mr Munro tried to escape but was grabbed by Forward, who then drove the knife into his victim several more times.

Cameron then tasered Mr Munro's head while Forward plunged the knife deep into his chest.

"Mr Munro did not move again," Justice Fagan said.

The men bundled his body into a car and dumped it in a 90cm-deep bush grave the killers had dug nine days earlier.

Neither man reacted when their sentences were read to the packed courtroom.

A third man, David Ian Wilkinson, 70, has admitted to cannabis cultivation as well as receiving, harbouring, maintaining and assisting Forward, knowing he had murdered Mr Munro.

He was sentenced to 23 months in jail.

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