Three men accused of the vigilante murder of a young dad over pedophile rumours were told a confession “wouldn’t hold up in court”, a court has ben told.
Bradley “BJ” Lyons, 30, was found bound and buried in a shallow grave in Victoria’s Gippsland region in March 2019 – more than four months after he vanished from his Lakes Entrance home.
He was face down in the grave with a single shotgun wound to the back of his head.
Three men, Albert Thorn, 57, Rikki Smith, 25, and Jordan Bottom, 24, are standing trial over his alleged murder in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Each man has pleaded not guilty to murder, while Mr Thorn has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and false imprisonment.
On Wednesday, Patricia Amy told the jury that she visited Albert Thorn’s farming property in Nyerimilang on December 2, 2018, just hours after Mr Lyons was abducted.
She said she found the three men and two others inside a disused water tank used as a social meeting place.
Previously, Crown prosecutor Raymond Gibson KC told the jury it was alleged Mr Lyons was locked inside the boot of Mr Thorn’s mum’s Toyota Corolla at the property.
Ms Amy said she overheard the gathered group say they had “taken BJ and to get a confession out of him for what he’d done to the kids”.
“I can’t remember exactly what I said but it would have been something like, ‘You’re a bunch of f--king idiots and you can’t be f--king doing this’,” she said.
“I’ve gone to argue the tape wouldn’t hold up in court even if you got a confession because you're tormenting him.”
Ms Amy told the court the group looked “shocked” at what she said and remembered Mr Smith turning to Mr Bottom and allegedly saying, “She’s right.”
Under cross-examination, Ms Amy agreed she never heard mention of killing Mr Lyons, just that they were planning to torture him, extract a confession and dump him at a police station.
She told the court that when she left, Mr Thorn remained in the water tank and she wasn’t sure where Mr Bottom and Mr Smith were.
Earlier in the trial, the jury was told Mr Bottom allegedly led police to the gravesite in March 2019, saying it was the “right thing to do”.
Mr Gibson told the jury the case against the three men is that at some point in the night, the trio allegedly drove to an unnamed dirt track near Double Bridges and executed Mr Lyons.
“This was nothing short of vigilante action,” he said.
“We say that all three men knew what was going to happen and all three men voluntarily participated in the summary execution.”
Lawyers acting for Mr Bottom and Mr Smith argued that while their clients were present and involved in the circumstances surrounding his death, neither man had murdered Mr Lyons.
But James Anderson, Mr Thorn’s barrister, said his client denied being present when Mr Lyons died.
He said Mr Lyons left his farm alive with Mr Smith and Mr Bottom.
The trial, before Justice Andrew Tinney, continues.