Two homophobic murderers have been sentenced 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 attack in November 2013.
Mark Taylor, 43, and Daniel Wade Jones, 37, must serve a minimum of 21 years in prison before they will be eligible for parole.
The unprovoked attack occurred when the pair found Mr Batchelor having sex with another man in the toilet block.
The West Australian Supreme Court was told Jones and Taylor, who was with his four children, were camping in the reserve and were angry it was used by gay men 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, causing him to fall to the floor, and continued to attack him while Jones beat him with a wooden pole.
Taylor then pulled an 18cm long knife on the surviving victim, who managed to flee the attack as Taylor chased him and yelled “come back faggot”.
Prosecutors had alleged the bashing was a vigilante attack to rid the area of gay men, but 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 while Taylor may have had concerns about his children being exposed to sexual activity and other antisocial behaviour, 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 will first be 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 them to be rehabilitated and, if ever, returned to the community as better persons, we remain broken for the rest of our lives. Our thanks again goes out to everyone.”