The judge sentences two homophobic murderers to life behind bars for beating a gay man to death in a Perth public toilet. Warren Gerard Batchelor, 48, died in hospital two days after the brutal gay hate crime in November 2013.
Mark Taylor, 43, and Daniel Wade Jones, 37, must serve a minimum of 21 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
The unprovoked attack occurred when the pair found Mr Batchelor having sex with another man in the toilet block.
Prosecutors told the West Australian Supreme Court Jones and Taylor, who was with his four children, became angry gay men used the reserve they camped on for sexual encounters.
Taylor yelled “get up you f***ing faggot” as he kicked down the door of the cubicle. He then punched Mr Batchelor in the head. Mr Batchelor fell to the floor, and Taylor continued to attack him while Jones beat him with a wooden pole.
Taylor pulled an 18cm long knife on the surviving victim. That man managed to flee the attack as Taylor chased him and yelled “come back faggot”.
Gay Hate Crime
Prosecutors alleged the bashing was a vigilante attack and a gay hate crime. The men intended to rid the area of gay men. Supreme Court Justice Lindy Jenkins said she would not go so far as to say the men were vigilantes.
“I don’t accept that, but nevertheless I have no doubt you wanted that behaviour to stop… and warn others away from the reserve,” she said.
“You were motivated by prejudice and hostility.”
Justice Jenkins said Mr Batchelor had done nothing to provoke Taylor and Jones who attacked an “unarmed and unsuspecting man”.
She said she believed Taylor’s concerns about his children possible exposure to sexual activity and other antisocial behaviour. However, his actions went “far beyond what might have been expected by a father”.
Both men denied fatally injuring Mr Batchelor but a Supreme Court jury found them guilty. With time already served they become eligible for release in 2034.
In a statement, Mr Batchelor’s family said knowing their beloved Warren, “he would have forgiven them already”.
“Whilst we pray for their rehabilitation and return to the community as better persons, we remain broken for the rest of our lives. Our thanks again goes out to everyone.”
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