Accused vigilante’s call to ex-cop: court
An accused vigilante killer allegedly told a retired police officer “I didn’t think we were going to go that far” in a taped phone call a jury has heard.
Albert Thorn, 58, is facing trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria over the alleged murder of Bradley Lyons, 30, near Lakes Entrance on the Victorian east coast in December 2018.
Mr Thorn, alongside co-accused Rikki Smith and Jordan Bottom, have pleaded not guilty.
On Tuesday, the jury heard recordings from taped phone calls allegedly between Mr Thorn and retired Australian Federal Police officer Kerri-Lee Wheelan on February 21, 2019.
Earlier, Crown prosecutor Raymond Gibson KC told the jury it was alleged Mr Thorn contacted Ms Wheelan in an effort to minimise his involvement.
“We allege that he believed that police were closing in on him and he was effectively constructing a narrative where he was saying that he had some role in it,” he said.
In the recordings, Mr Thorn allegedly told Ms Wheelan he was involved in the kidnapping and assault of Mr Lyons, but he was still alive when he last saw him.
“What I‘ve told you, you’re the only one I’ve told,” he allegedly said.
“I‘ve never really been scared ever, but this one’s starting to touch a few buttons … If something happens to me at least you know.”
He allegedly revealed the plan was to force Mr Lyons to confess to sexually abusing children, but he “didn’t think we were going to go that far”.
He allegedly told her Mr Smith and Mr Bottom had told him they shot and buried Mr Lyons, offering to draw a “mud map” to the location.
Prosecutors allege Mr Lyons was murdered by all three men in the early hours of the morning on December 3, 2018, over rumours he had sexually touched children.
His body was recovered with a bullet wound to the back of his head in a shallow bush grave near Double Bridges, about 48km north of Lakes Entrance, in March the following year.
Lawyers acting for Mr Bottom and Mr Smith have argued before the jury that while their clients were present and involved in the circumstances surrounding his death, neither man had murdered Mr Lyons.
Instead, they said their clients pointed the finger at Mr Thorn for allegedly firing the fatal shot.
But James Anderson, Mr Thorn’s barrister, said his client denied being present when Mr Lyons died.
The trial, before Justice Andrew Tinney, continues.