The minimum jail terms for two men convicted of a “shocking and cruel" Perth murder have been almost doubled to 21 years after prosecutors convinced an appeal court the previous 12-year term was manifestly inadequate.
Sam Jacob Walker, and Jonathan Robert Lee, aged in their 20s, had been jailed last December for the murder of David Houston, at a South Fremantle home on May 12 last year.
At the time, Supreme Court Justice Eric Heenan called the murder a "grave, reprehensible and shocking crime” that had seen both men carry out the vigorous attack on an outnumbered victim while in a drug-induced frenzy.
The court was told the pair had been taking drugs, including cannabis and methylamphetamine, before the crime in which Walker suddenly began choking Mr Houston and Lee joined in, despite only meeting Mr Houston that afternoon.
The court heard Mr Houston, who had allegedly been involved in selling drugs, endured great pain and suffering in the attack in which he was choked, kicked, and stomped on and left fighting for his life before he died.
His body was disfigured by acid, lime and cement in the killers' bid to dispose of it.
Mr Houston's family had expressed disappointment with the non-parole sentence of 12 years, pointing out it was only two years more than the minimum required by law of 10 years.
Today, prosecutors won their appeal bid with the minimum jail term boosted to 21 years. The Appeal Court criticised the prior minimum as "dramatically" lower than comparable cases, including the shocking 2006 murder of teenager Stacy Mitchell by Jessica Stasinowsky along with her girlfriend Valerie Parashumti.
"The circumstances of the offending place it at the high end of the scale of seriousness of the offence of murder," Appeal Court president Carmel McLure said in today's judgment. "The killing of the deceased was intentional, unprovoked, ferocious and sustained, and merciless in its execution."
"It is further aggravated by the fact that the offence was committed in company against a defenceless, unsuspecting victim and deliberate steps were taken to conceal the crime," Court President McClure said. "Walker's premeditation and the manner in which he disfigured and disposed of the body is also aggravating."
Mr Houston's family were present to hear the ruling.