Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 22/07/2004, pg. 7

FIVE people were yesterday sentenced to a total of 75 years jail for their part in the horrific torture and shooting of a young Goondiwindi couple in December 2002.

Sharon May Clark, 29, and her partner James Gareth Hunt, 20, were viciously bashed, bundled naked into a car boot, driven 35km to isolated bushland and repeatedly shot.

In Toowoomba Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Richard Chesterman said words could not describe the extreme terror, pain and indignity the two endured in their final hours.

“It is appalling. It is horror,” he said, adding that the murders could have been stopped if any one of the three instigators had thought like an adult.

Justice Chesterman said the crime had stolen the life of a young mother, depriving her children of her care and another four children were without their parents because of the murders.

Victim impact statements handed to the court told of the anguish of the families of the victims and said they had endured physical illnesses and profound suffering. About 30 relatives of the accused and the victims gathered for the final chapter in the tragedy.

Guyon Ronald Clark, 33, Brennan Brett Emmett, 38, and Joanne Dale Palmer, 32 were all sentenced to a minimum of 20 years jail before they can apply for parole.

Justice Chesterman also recorded convictions against Palmer on two counts of torture of the couple but did not sentence her to a further penalty because he said the acts of torture were part of the
overall murder plan.

He said the three had co-opted two other people — who would now also go to jail.

Daniel Bernard Smith, 21, was sentenced to 10 years jail on each of two counts of manslaughter, to be served concurrently, for handing over a loaded lever-action rifle to Emmett that was used to shoot the couple in the bushland.

Justice Chesterman said Smith had been caught up in the maelstrom of violence and his sentence at the lower end of the scale for manslaughter reflected Smith’s youth, his placid nature and his good character.

Beverley Dale Scott, 58, was sentenced to five years jail (to be served concurrently) on each of four counts of being an accessory after the fact, for assisting Clark and Emmett — knowing they were
guilty of the murders — to escape punishment.

He said Scott acted out of misguided loyalty to her daughter when she lied to police about Clark’s whereabouts and helped Palmer and Emmett to flee the state by giving them money.

Copyright 2004 / Courier Mail