Both people accused of murdering Gold Coast detective Damian Leeding have been found guilty.

The jury retired just before lunch, handing down their decision late this afternoon.

Sarah Orr reports.


Phillip Graeme Abell and Donna Lee McAvoy have been found guilty of murdering Senior Constable Damian Leeding.

Today, they appeared in court for the last time before the jury retired to deliberate just before lunch.

Less than four hours later, they were found guilty. The pair orchestrated an armed robbery at the Pacific Pines Tavern in May 2011 where Detective Leeding and his partner Senior Constable Nicole Jackson, were first on the scene.

The court heard Mr Abell fired his gun at the Sen Constable, shooting him in the face.

The 35 year old father of two died later in hospital.

Both accused had pled guilty to armed robbery and seven charges of deprivation of liberty but say they didn’t murder Detective Leeding.

Their lawyer said their actions were in self-defence.

“This was not something that was a cold and calculated act, it was a sudden and instinctive reaction because Abell was taken by surprise, and perhaps Damian Leeding was, too.”

A jury disagreed.

Meanwhile, the trail of former Bundaberg surgeon, Jayant Patel began in District Court today.

Mr Patel is accused of unnecessarily removing the colon of patient Ian Rodney Vowels. Six jurors had to be excused after admitting they could not act impartially.

Sarah Orr, QUT News.