A KILLER who stabbed his victim in the head, then engaged in a threesome with his two accomplices before heading to the pub, will spend at least 14 years in jail.
Martin Dick was left for dead on the front lawn of his Hoppers Crossing home after Dean Maes, 32, stabbed him seven times in the head, back and upper body in August 2010.
Supreme Court Judge Justice Paul Coghlan today said after the violent killing Maes went back to the home of co-accused Callum Fitton with fellow co-accused Elizabeth Downie – the victim’s ex-wife.
The three then engaged in sexual intercourse before Fitton and Maes went to the Newport Hotel and drank beers together until their arrest later that night, he said.
The court heard on the day of the attack the trio had been drinking at Downie’s Werribee home before they set off for Mr Dick’s home.
After Mr Dick tried to close the door on the group, Maes smashed the door down.
Mr Dick was then bashed and when he tried to escape was stabbed seven times.
The group then left and drove until their car ran out of petrol near Spotswood.
Justice Coghlan said the attack had had a devastating and lasting effect on the victim’s family, including Mr Dick’s six children.
Justice Coghlan said police were investigating serious allegations against Mr Dick at the time of his death.
“It is not a matter for you to be the judge and the jury let alone the executioner,” he told Maes.
Justice Coghlan said he accepted Maes was now remorseful and was genuinely concerned about the welfare of Mr Dick’s young children.
He sentenced Maes, who pleaded guilty to murder, to a maximum of 18 years.
Downie was earlier sentenced to a non-parole period of four years for her involvement. Fitton was sentenced to serve at least three years.
Accused killers ‘hatched plan’ over booze and pills
September 1, 2010
Three booze-and-drug-fuelled killers drove around Melbourne‘s west until running out of petrol after murdering a man in Hoppers Crossing, police say.
The accused – Callum Fitton, 41, Dean Maes, 30, and Elizabeth Downie, 36 – allegedly “hatched a plan” to murder Martin Dick at his home on Monday, a court has heard. They are also charged with aggravated burglary.
Police arrested and charged the three yesterday. They appeared at an out-of-sessions court last night where they were remanded to reappear separately at Melbourne Magistrates Court for brief filing hearings this morning.
The trio allegedly assaulted Mr Dick, 42, in his home then dragged him into his front yard where he was stabbed by Maes. Mr Dick reportedly suffered facial and upper body injuries. His body was found at the front of the Cleveland Drive property.
At last night’s hearing, Detective Senior Constable Scott Riley said the trio allegedly met in Altona on Monday to drink and consume pills.
Detective Senior Constable Riley said they later went to Downie’s Werribee home where they “hatched a plan” to go to Mr Dick’s address.
The three then drove to Mr Dick’s Cleveland Drive property, where Maes allegedly kicked in the door.
Detective Senior Constable Riley said Maes and Fitton then punched and kicked Mr Dick, who was dragged onto the front lawn, where Maes stabbed him.
The trio then left and drove to Spotswood, stopping twice to dispose of the knife and to wash their bloodied clothes, until the vehicle ran out of petrol in Spotswood near Fitton’s home, Detective Senior Constable Riley said.
Fitton, who appeared in court barefoot in blue forensic overalls, spoke out at the hearing.
“It wasn’t something that was planned,” he said.
He said they had gone to pay Mr Dick a visit.
“I threw a couple of punches,” he told the hearing.
“Dean produced a knife,” Fitton said, adding that he had no idea Maes had a knife.
A dishevelled Downie appeared at the hearing in a light blue tracksuit jumper, with a cut on the right side of her forehead.
They were refused bail and ordered to reappear at Melbourne this morning. Downie, of Werribee, was first and appeared in a T-shirt printed with the words “Love sucks”. Her lawyer Bernie Balmer asked Magistrate Simon Garnett to note a custody management issue for her involved heroin use.
Ann Valos, for Maes, said that custody management issues for him were a possible acquired brain injury and that he was on two types of medication.
Maes, of West Melbourne, nodded and winked at a man in the body of the court and told him as he left that he loved him and to “stay strong”.
Fitton, bearded and with a skull and crossbones tattoo on the front of his neck, appeared last.
Defence lawyer Paul Jansen said his client, from Spotswood, did not have any custody management issues and, like his two co-accused, was remanded to appear in January.
- with AAP
JUDGE: COGHLAN J
WHERE HELD: Melbourne
DATE OF HEARING: 1 February 2012
DATE OF SENTENCE: 24 April 2012
CASE MAY BE CITED AS: R v Maes
MEDIUM NEUTRAL CITATION:  VSC 161
CRIMINAL LAW – Murder – Plea of Guilty – History of alcohol and illicit substance abuse
– Prospects of rehabilitation – Vigilantism
APPEARANCES: Counsel Solicitors
For the Crown Mr C. Thomson Office of Public Prosecutions
For the Accused Mr D. Dann Ann Valos Lawyers
1 Dean Maes, on 7 February 2012, you were arraigned and pleaded guilty to the
murder of Martin Dick at his home in Hoppers Crossing on 30 August 2010.
2 There are two co-accused who have already been sentenced by this Court, namely
Elizabeth Downie and Callum Fitton, both of whom pleaded guilty to manslaughter
and were sentenced by Justice King and me respectively.
3 The origins of the attack were borne out of the relationship between Mr Dick and
your co-accused Elizabeth Downie and to a lesser extent your relationship with both
of them. Martin Dick and Elizabeth Downie had been married for 12 years until they
divorced in October 2005 after separating in 2002. They had six children, three boys
and three girls born between 1992 and 2001.
4 At the time of the separation, initially all the children lived with Downie. In 2004
they all moved and lived with Mr Dick. Some time in 2002 you had commenced a
relationship with Downie. This relationship lasted for about two years before the
two of you broke up due largely to you being physically violent towards her. You
still remained in contact with each other.
5 In March 2010, one of the children complained that Mr Dick had masturbated in her
presence. As a result, four of the children moved back to live with their mother.
One child remained with Mr Dick while the other was living elsewhere. Mr Dick
had been interviewed by the police about the alleged incident but no formal charges
had been laid at the time of his death, although it appears that a brief of evidence
had been prepared but not approved.
6 Downie complained to various friends about the allegation against Mr Dick, saying
that “something should be done or someone should have him whacked”. She
further expressed to another friend that she wanted someone to run through
Mr Dick’s house and in fact said she was going to get you to do it but then changed
her mind because she thought that you would go too far. In the present
circumstances, I refer to those matters only as a matter of context.
7 On 30 July 2010, Downie was on the phone to a friend and said that she and yourself
were going to run through the child molester’s home. You then told the same friend
that you were going to beat Mr Dick up. You are reported as having said “did you
hear what Martin did to those girls…I’m going to kill the low life cunt” but nothing
occurred at that time. I proceed on the basis that that was not actually your intention
at the time you were said to have made that remark.
8 On the day of the offending which was about one month later, you and Fitton, who
you had known for a couple of years, met Elizabeth Downie at the Westonia Railway
Station. At 1.41 pm, the three of you went back to Downie’s house and consumed
some alcohol. Gabrielle, one of the Downie/Dick children, was home at this stage
and Fitton showed her some of his tattoos which she took some photographs of.
9 The three of you, that is yourself, Downie and Fitton, proceeded to go to Mr Dick’s
house in Downie’s Hyundai sedan. You all went up to the front door. Upon
opening the front door, Mr Dick, on seeing who was at the door, quickly tried to
close it but you smashed the front door down. You entered the house and fought
Mr Dick throwing punches and kicking him. His blood was later found in the
hallway, dining room and kitchen area. During the course of the struggle, you
picked up a filleting knife. The actual circumstances of how that knife came into
your possession are not clear.
10 Mr Dick managed to escape from the melee out the front door but was immediately
punched by Fitton as he stepped outside. Then you came outside and briefly,
shortly afterwards, stabbed Mr Dick seven times to his head, back and left flank.
11 A nearby witness heard Fitton yelling “I’ll kill ya” and another witness who was
walking home from school heard a male yelling “he’s fucking dead, cunt, just fuckin’
leave the guy alone”. You then said to this witness “keep walking mate, it’s got
nothing to do with you”. At this stage, Downie was heard yelling “oh, you’re a
fuckin’ paedophile, you’ve been touching people’s daughters”.
12 A further witness who heard very much the same, also saw two men punching and
kicking Mr Dick and then saw you pull Fitton away from him. It was put on as part
of the Crown Opening on the plea which became Exhibit 1, that you had to drag
Fitton away from Mr Dick twice. Once before you returned to Downie’s car, then a
further time after Fitton had returned to Mr Dick to abuse him and assault him
13 All of you then drove a short distance before Downie got out of the car and dropped
the knife down a drain. The knife later retrieved by police was similar to knives
which were found in the kitchen of Mr Dick.
14 You continued on to Grevillea Crescent, where you all got out and washed at a
garden tap. You and Fitton took off most of your clothing and left some of it there.
Once back in the car, you drove until the car ran out of petrol near Newport railway
station. At this point, you went back to Fitton’s bungalow in Spotswood where the
three of you engaged in sexual intercourse.
15 Downie left after speaking with her daughter on the phone who told her the police
were at their house and wanted to speak with her. She was later arrested at the
Hoppers Crossing railway station.
16 You and Fitton went to the Newport Hotel and continued to drink beer until your
arrest at 11.25pm. You were both intoxicated and incapable of being interviewed.
17 You later gave a no comment record of interview.
18 Mr Dick died as a result of multiple stab wounds being one to his right ear, five to
his back and one to his left flank. Two of his wounds caused massive internal
bleeding and the collapse of both lungs.
19 I received four Victim Impact Statements on the plea from Robert Dick, Mr Dick’s
brother, Carolyn Donnelly and Catherine Wood, his sisters, and Philip Wood,
Mr Dick’s brother in law and husband of Catherine Wood. At Callum Fitton’s plea
which I presided over, the same victim impact material was read out by Philip Wood
and Catherine Wood and the statements of Robert Dick and Carolyn Donnelly were
also read out. I mention that matter because the material was very similar, if not the
20 It leads me to observe, as I have previously observed, offending such as this has a
devastating and lasting effect on the victims and I can only do the best I can to
understand what they go through. It can only be said that with your plea of guilty,
the matter can now be finalised in one sense and the victims can take some comfort
from the fact and begin to try and move on with their lives. One difficulty that arises
in this case and is completely obvious, the children of the marriage between Mr Dick
and Ms Downie are deprived of their father and, as a consequential result of her own
actions in which you joined, deprived of the presence and help of their mother for
the next number of years.
21 I did not receive any direct victim impact material from the children. The
circumstances for them in that regard, since one of the offenders was their mother,
relating to the death of their father was a very difficult one indeed but I have taken
into account the truly tragic consequences that this offending has had upon them.
22 You are now 32 years of age. You do have a criminal record. It was put to me by
Mr Dann who appeared for you on the plea that while your criminal record is
substantial, there is a lack of prior convictions for violence and that appears to be so
on the examination of your convictions.
23 Your prior convictions do seem to stem from your continual abuse of alcohol and
drugs from a young age, and I will come to later. As such, I do not consider the fact
that you had consumed alcohol and benzodiazepines on the day of the offending as
a matter in mitigation but I do not regard it as a matter in aggravation either. It is
however relevant in the sense that it might well have been a matter which you had
chosen to argue on trial, had you not pleaded guilty, as to what intent you had
actually formed at the time of these events.
24 You were born in Melbourne and have a twin brother and a younger brother. You
also have an older half sister and a younger half brother. Your father was in the
army and as a result of this, you moved around a lot in your early years and
attended a number of different primary schools.
25 It was put to me on the plea that in those early years, your father had difficulty with
his alcohol consumption and was violent towards your mother. Your mother would
often leave and take you and your siblings elsewhere to escape his physical abuse.
26 At age 14, your parents separated and you lived with your mother but not for long.
You fell in with an older crowd who did not attend school and were abusing alcohol.
You felt that you were given an ultimatum by your mother to either attend school or
leave home. As such, you chose to leave the family home. Since then, you have
lived a somewhat itinerant life, staying with friends, living on the streets and staying
at crisis centres or any accommodation that could be provided to you. You have not
been able to sustain long term employment due to your lack of permanent
27 From about the age of 14, you developed a dependency on alcohol and smoking
cannabis up to two joints a day until you were arrested, other than time then spent in
custody. You also have had a habit of taking amphetamines, although more heavily
between the ages of 16 to 25.
28 Throughout the years, you have suffered a number of concussions, but in about 2006
or 2007, you were severely attacked to the head with an axe during a home invasion
at your father’s residence and received 14 stitches. As a result of the attack, you were
later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. You dealt with anxiety from the
attack by drinking more alcohol and using excessive benzodiazepines. You have
been receiving prescriptions for benzodiazepines since the age of 20.
29 A report from Dr Adam Deacon, psychiatrist, was tendered on the plea and became
Exhibit 3M. Dr Deacon stated under the heading ‘Opinion and Recommendations’:
“Mr Maes has a prolonged history of alcohol and cannabis dependency. He
has persistently consumed excessive alcohol, contributing to secondary
problems including blackouts and cognitive problems, including short-term
memory deficits and related disorganisation. He has universally failed
attempts at alcohol rehabilitation with prompt relapse.
Mr Maes has been subject to multiple head injuries. He has been seriously
assaulted on many occasions, leading to periods of unconsciousness. He
was seriously assaulted whilst severely intoxicated a few years ago whilst in
the company of his father. As detailed in the body of this report, he
developed a subsequent anxiety condition that meets the criteria for posttraumatic
stress disorder. As a result of this serious assault, Mr Maes
became more dependent on alcohol, and he also required prescribed
anxiolytic benzodiazepine medication. He developed a pattern of abusing
benzodiazepines, and as he typically consumed most of the prescription
within a few days of it being dispensed.”
30 I might add in parentheses, that seems to be part of what happened on this very day.
31 Your recollection of the events on 30 August 2010 are at best scarce. It was put by
Mr Thomson who appeared on behalf of the Crown that you did not go to Mr Dick’s
premises that day with the intention to murder him but to carry out an attack. It was
only during the fight with Mr Dick that you formed the intention to cause really
serious injury and I proceed to sentence you on that basis.
32 I do accept that you knew the children and did have genuine concern about their
welfare but vigilante attacks such as these are undoubtedly futile and completely
unacceptable. You were aware of the allegation against Mr Dick but no charges had
been laid and it was not a matter for you to be the judge and the jury, let alone the
executioner. Even had Mr Dick not died as a result of the injuries you inflicted, this
would have been a very serious crime of intentionally causing serious injury.
33 It was put on your behalf, although you do not remember the actual offending, that
this in itself does not illustrate your lack of remorse as you could have chosen to
have proceeded to trial and taken your chance of being convicted of a lesser crime.
34 Dr Deacon further observed:
“Mr Maes vaguely recalled elements of the day of the offence, but he denied
any recollection of the actual offence other than the initial verbal and
physical altercation. Mr Maes’ reported amnesia likely reflects a
combination of similar previous alcohol related blackouts secondary to
chronic alcohol dependency. Alcohol combined with benzodiazepines is
also recognised as being a combination that frequently leads to amnesia.
This combination is also reported to be a risk factor for paradoxical
disinhibited and aggressive states.
Mr Maes presented as genuinely remorseful and contrite. He remains mildly
perplexed by his circumstances, as he has struggled to reconcile what he has
done. He presented as particularly concerned for the welfare of Mr Dick’s
children now they’ve lost their father, and their mother is in custody. Mr
Maes presented as mildly depressed but he is coping adequately in prison.”
35 I note that your actions immediately following the attack did not show any level of
remorse but I accept that you are now remorseful for your actions and I do regard
your plea as having real worth and in part as being a feature of the remorse that you
36 You are a person who has clearly led a life dependent on alcohol and drugs. Your
prospects of rehabilitation appear to be greatly intertwined with your ability to
abstain from the abuse of alcohol and illicit substances. I received a report from
Mr Martin Jackson, a neuropsychologist, which became Exhibit 6M on the plea.
Regarding your prognosis he said:
“In terms of prognosis, it is highly recommended that Mr Maes cease
drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. If he does so, then there is a
possibility that his cognitive skills will improve, although it is not known
how well they will recover. However, if he continues to drink alcohol and
smoke marijuana at hazardous levels then he will certainly experience
deterioration in his cognitive skills over time and increase the probability
that any impairment will be permanent. It is also recommended that he
reduce (with the aim of ceasing) his use of benzodiazepines, which he
continues to take due to anxiety following the axe attack.”
37 And later:
“In terms of recommended treatment, I note that Mr Maes has successfully
undertaken detoxification in the past and remained abstinent for some time
with appropriate support and counselling. Therefore, I recommend that
whilst he is in prison he take part in drug and alcohol counselling.
Furthermore, when he is released from prison he should be referred to a
drug and alcohol service and engage in alcohol and drug counselling to
assist him to remain abstinent. He should also receive counselling to help
him deal with the trauma associated with the previous axe attack. He also
has a long history of accommodation (homelessness) problems and would
require further support from accommodation services once he is released
38 In his report, Mr Jackson comments that he is unable to determine whether you have
an acquired brain injury from substance use or previous head injury. At the time as
his assessment of you, you were still abusing alcohol and drugs excessively so that
aspects of a cognitive impairment test would not be able to be satisfactorily
39 You do have the support of your family and now have a child of your own to
40 Whilst on remand, you have completed a number of programs. For this you are to
Introduction to Anger Management Program
Communication Skills Programs
Certificate III in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations)
Staying Safe in the Community Program (Release Related Harm Reduction)
Certificate I in General Education for Adults (Introductory)
Certificate II in Asset Maintenance (Cleaning Operations)
41 Although because of your background and your abuse of alcohol and illicit
substances, your prospects of rehabilitation are guarded. They are however not so
bleak as to be disregarded and should not be regarded as non-existent. There is
some prospect of rehabilitation in your future which I think you now understand is
largely in your own hands. You have shown at least some determination whilst you
have been in prison on this occasion in wanting to improve yourself and have shown
signs of it.
42 I was asked to impose a sentence at the lower end of the range for murder because of
the mitigating features of your plea and your lack of violent offending. These
though have to be put in contrast to the aggravating features, particularly that you
took the law into your own hands which must be discouraged and the fact that you
stabbed Mr Dick seven times. Murder does carry life imprisonment. I have fixed a
sentence which I would regard as being more or less in the middle of the range but
at the lower end of that middle range.
43 Your co-accused Elizabeth Downie and Callum Fitton, as I have already observed,
both pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to give evidence against you in
accordance with sworn undertakings they gave to the court. I sentenced Callum
Fitton to be imprisoned for five years with a non parole period of three years. Justice
King sentenced Elizabeth Downie to be imprisoned for six years with a non parole
period of four years.
44 In so far as I have been able to do so and in so far as it is relevant to do so I have
taken their sentences into account. It must be noted however that you were the
person who caused the death of Martin Dick and you did so in circumstances that
you alone formed the intent to cause really serious injury to Mr Dick. I have taken
into account that Ms Downie was the moving force in this offending in a general
45 I am obliged to have regard to just punishment, denunciation, general and specific
deterrence and I have done so. It is important to note in that regard that you did
stab Mr Dick seven times in what must be regarded as a sustained attack.
46 I have fixed a non-parole period which I believe will be adequate for your
supervision in the community, when and if the parole board chose to release you on
47 I sentence you to be imprisoned for 18 years and I fix a period of 14 and a half years
before you will be eligible for parole.
48 I state that pursuant to s 6AAA of the Sentencing Act 1991, had it not been for your
plea of guilty I would have sentenced you to be imprisoned for 21 years, with a nonparole
period of 17 and a half years.
49 I declare that you have served 602 days pursuant to this sentence. I order that this
declaration and the above statement pursuant to s 6AAA to be entered in the records
of the Court.