The West

A British man has been found guilty of murdering his brother-in-law in his Ellenbrook home more than 10 years ago, marking the end of a nine-year police manhunt that spanned the globe.

Today a Supreme Court jury took four hours to acquit Anthony Carl Prestidge, 51, of wilfully murdering his sister's husband Andy Arthur Ball, 24, on September 10, 2002. Instead, the jury convicted the Edinburgh man of the alternative charge of murder.

Prestidge was in Perth on holidays and Mr Ball was dead less than a week after Prestidge helped his sister Angela Ball escape her violent marriage.

Mr Ball suffered extensive skull fractured after he was bludgeoned to death in his kitchen.

Prestidge covered the body with bedding, locked the house, took Mr Ball's car and drove to Perth International Airport where he flew to Bali.

He did not return to Perth until 2011, when he was extradited from Thailand to face the charge.

Prestidge, who was one of Australia's most wanted men while at large with the police search including overseas agencies such as Interpol, started a new life in Thailand, with a partner and son.

Before his extradition, Prestidge spent nine months on remand in Bangkok's Klong Prem prison after being arrested on minor immigration offences.

Testifying at his trial, Mr Prestidge claimed he killed Mr Ball in self-defence after his brother-in-law attacked him with a wrench and knife after accusing him of having an incestuous affair with his sister and trying to break up his marriage.

He claimed he hit Mr Ball once in the head with a wrench, but denied planning the murder or being mad about the domestic abuse his sister suffered at the hands of Mr Ball.

The pair had just returned to Mr Ball's home after drinking together at the Morley Ale House, where relations between the men appeared fine.

Mr Ball had two children with his wife, with the youngest born after his death. He had only learnt his wife was pregnant just before he died.

The prosecution suggested Mr Ball was ferociously attacked while making sandwiches when he was hit from behind and then again while he was bleeding on the floor.

However, the defence argued Mr Ball had a history of violence and although Prestidge was supportive of his sister did not want to interfere in her marriage. The defence claimed Prestidge fled because he was in shock and did not want to face Mr Ball's family, not because he was guilty.

In the days before his death, Mr Ball told his mother and neighbours that he had been threatened and if anything happened to him Prestidge would be responsible. After his wife left him, Mr Ball got Family Court orders preventing his children from leaving the country. The jury heard that Mr Ball believed Prestidge had come to Perth to take his wife and children back to the UK.

Prestidge was remanded in custody to be sentenced on March 1.

The West Australian

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