Mother, son 'bury pedestrian' hit by car

·3-min read

After a young man allegedly fatally struck an Indigenous pedestrian with his car, his mother helped load the woman's body onto a ute before they buried it in bushland outside Darwin, a court has been told.

The discovery of the Aboriginal woman's dismembered leg on the Northern Territory's Stuart Highway triggered a police investigation leading to the pair's arrest.

Joshua Gary Mason, 23, allegedly hit the woman with a car on the busy highway in Darwin's outskirts about 8.30pm on Monday.

Mother-of-three Deborah Karen Mason, 50, then allegedly helped collect, move and conceal the woman's body in bushland 15km south of the collision site.

Part of the woman's leg was discovered on the Stuart Highway on Tuesday morning in the rural suburb of Coolalinga, 30km south of the city centre, triggering a massive police investigation.

Her body was later found partially buried in scrub in Bees Creek on Wednesday night after the Masons were arrested earlier in the day.

The pair appeared in the NT Local Court in Darwin on Friday on a slew of charges, including misconduct with a corpse, destroying evidence and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Defence lawyer Peter Maley said Joshua Mason would likely plead guilty to the charges, along with the additional allegation of hit and run.

He did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody.

Former Woolworths worker Deborah Mason would likely also plead guilty once the facts had been agreed, Mr Maley said.

Her bail application heard Joshua Mason called his mother after the collision and she went to the scene to help him.

The pair looked for the deceased woman in the darkness with a member of the public who had stopped to help.

"They couldn't find anything ... but Mr Mason knew he had struck something with his vehicle and was not confident at all that he had not hit a person," Judge Therese Austin said.

The Masons left the site empty-handed but returned later in the night when they again searched and found the dead woman.

"They then took the body, put it in the car, drove off with it and they formed the intention to dispose of the deceased and not call the authorities," Judge Austin said.

"They disposed of the body and then they went home. It's a very serious incident. They've done a very poor job by the sound of it of disposing of any evidence. It was all over the ute. Forensics were not properly cleaned up."

Prosecutor Jessica McLean said Deborah Mason drove the ute, which was allegedly found with blood in its tray despite the pair's attempt to hose it out.

Investigators also allegedly found blood-soaked towels in the laundry at the home Deborah Mason shares with her daughter.

Mr Maley said it had been a tragic accident and there was no suggestion Joshua Mason had been driving erratically or legally responsible for the woman's death.

But Judge Austin said text messages between Deborah Mason and her daughter potentially showed there had been a callous disregard for the woman's death.

She said attempting to pervert the course of justice was a serious offence and the Crown had a strong case. She ordered that a bail assessment be completed before making her decision.

Police have not released details of the victim's identity or her age. A forensic pathologist who examined the partial leg on Tuesday determined she was either a teenager or an adult.

A traveller driving on the four-lane highway linking Darwin to Alice Springs and Adelaide spotted the limb.

Deborah Mason is scheduled to reappear in Darwin Local Court on June 14, with her son due back on July 27.

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