Life terms for drug-orgy murder
Murder victim: David Houston

Two men have been jailed for life with a minimum of 12 years for a “shocking" and "cruel" murder that the judge said showcased the terrible and sometimes fatal consequences of drug abuse.

WA Supreme Court justice Eric Heenan said the case was a “terrible crime committed in the throes of an orgy of drug abuse and it is a lesson … how dangerous this activity is and how unpredictable and fatal its consequences can be”.

The judge made the comment as he sentenced Sam Jacob Walker, 27, and Jonathan Robert Lee, 23, for the murder of David Houston, at a South Fremantle home on May 12.

The court was told that the pair had been taking drugs, including cannabis and methylamphetamine, before the crime in which Walker suddenly begin choking Mr Houston.

The judge described Mr Houston as a vulnerable and outnumbered victim.

Houston struggled before Lee ran into the room and joined in the attack, despite only just having met Houston that afternoon.

Justice Heenan today described the murder as a “grave, reprehensible and shocking crime” that had seen both men carry out the attack with vigour while in a drug-induced frenzy.

The judge said Mr Houston - who the court was told had allegedly been involved in selling drugs - had 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.

The court was told Houston’s mother was advised not to view her son’s body. She wrote a victim impact statement describing her loving relationship with her son despite his own troubles in life.

Houston’s partner was pregnant when he was murdered. His daughter has since been born.

The court was told Walker and Lee had come from supportive families and were deeply remorseful for their crime, which followed an escalation in their habitual drug use.

Justice Heenan said the case showed the tragic result of drug abuse on people, even if they had a promising and stable background.

Mr Houston's family 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.

The West Australian

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