Man jailed for burning clothes

Murder victim Amanda Quirk.
Murder victim Amanda Quirk. Contributed

A MAN who destroyed the clothes of a woman who was battered to death will spend at least the next four months in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Aaron James Presgrave, 25, put victim Amanda Quirk's clothing and a rope in a plastic bag, took it to bushland, doused it in petrol and set it alight.

Ms Quirk, 32, was found dumped near the northern NSW town of Drake on April 8 last year, days after she was reported missing from her Booval home.

Ipswich District Court was told Presgrave was in a relationship with Ms Quirk's housemate, Rachel Narelle Smith, 38, who has since been charged with Ms Quirk's murder.

Smith and her co-accused Christopher James Swan, 37,lived with Ms Quirk at the Dudleigh St house where the murder allegedly took place. Sometime between March 31 and April 5 last year, Smith allegedly told Presgrave about the death but claimed it was Swan alone who had killed her.

The court heard Presgrave went to the home and collected clothes and rope and burned them in bushland.

A few days later he stole a ring from the home and showed Smith, who said Swan had been wearing the ring when he punched Ms Quirk on the day of her murder.

Presgrave then buried the ring in his mother's front yard.

Defence barrister Steve Kissick said when Presgrave helped his then-girlfriend he believed she only knew about the murder and didn't know she would eventually be charged with it.

"He didn't believe she did it ... he was an accessory to an accessory," Mr Kissick said.

Mr Kissick said his client wanted to express sincere regret and sorrow to the family of Ms Quirk, who were in court yesterday.

Judge Gregory Koppenol noted Presgrave had 24 convictions for dishonesty and property offences, and had a troubling traffic history.

But he also agreed Presgrave didn't understand Smith was to be charged with the murder of the deceased at the time.

"Your actions were stupid and foolish and misguided ... you did them to assist your then girlfriend," Judge Koppenol said.

Judge Koppenol said there was no excuse for Presgrave's conduct but acknowledged his early guilty plea and remorse.

The court heard Presgrave had been handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence for another matter in the court a week before he burned the evidence.

He was sentenced to two years jail and the suspended sentence was activated. It will be served concurrently with the head sentence. Presgrave will be eligible for parole on April 2.

Smith and Swan will stand trial for Ms Quirk's murder at the Supreme Court in March.

Topics:  crime ipswich district court jail prison

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