The killer of Gold Coast policeman Damian Leeding was today given a life sentence.
And Phillip Graeme Abell won’t be eligible to apply for parole, until 2031.
The Constable’s family broke down in tears as the Judge delivered his verdict.
Tom Hartley reports.
Senior Constable Damian Leeding was killed doing a job he’d wanted to do, since he was a young boy.
Today Leeding’s family thanked the court for his killer’s lengthy sentence.
Julie Waters, Damian’s mother: “Obviously that’s never going to bring Damian back, nothing, no sentence really is enough to bring back Damian, ever…sorry.”
Abell shot Leeding with a sawn-off shotgun during a hold up at the Pacific Pines Tavern in May 2011, the detective died in hospital three days later after his life-support was turned off.
Ian Leavers, Qld Police Union: “All Damian did on this day was turn up for work and he paid the ultimate sacrifice. This in no way will ever bring Damian back.”
Today Abell showed no emotion as his fate was decided.
The court heard Abell showed no signs of remorse, upon shooting Leeding, reloading his gun as the policeman lay dying on the floor.
“Your killing of a brave young police officer acting in the course of his duty has grievously affected his young family, his colleagues and the wider community,” Justice Douglas told Abell.
Earlier, Leeding’s mother Julie Waters told the court she lived in fear, “anxious and afraid” fearing what could happen to her daughters.
“To see the offenders who took my Damian’s life for a paltry sum of money is overwhelming,” she said.
Younger sister Chantelle said: “I lost my best friend that night and no one and nothing will ever replace him.”
Hayley Leeding, Sister: “We all need to take what we need from this now and move on in our own way.”
Abell’s accomplices Donna Lee McAvoy and Benjamin Ernest Power are to be sentenced at a later date.
Tom Hartley, QUT News.