Trio jailed for murdering dad of six Martin Dick


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.

Accomplice Callum Fitton Serving at least 3 years

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

via Accused killers ‘hatched plan’ over booze and pills.

THE QUEEN

v

DEAN MAES

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: [2012] 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 T0161

HIS HONOUR:

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.

2 T0161

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

3 T0161

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

further.

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

4 T0161

also read out. I mention that matter because the material was very similar, if not the

same.

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

5 T0161

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

accommodation.

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.

6 T0161

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

7 T0161

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

have shown.

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

from prison.”

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

8 T0161

determined.

39 You do have the support of your family and now have a child of your own to

consider.

40 Whilst on remand, you have completed a number of programs. For this you are to

be commended:

 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

9 T0161

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

sense.

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

parole.

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.