Murderer of Carramar man Jason Edge sentenced to life with minimum 25 years

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE mother of murdered Carramar man Jason Edge wept tears of relief as her son’s killer was handed a life sentence with a significant 25-year minimum this afternoon.

Two other men involved in the crime were also jailed.

Supreme Court Justice Lindy Jenkins said Johnathan Derek Pihema (30) had shown little remorse over the 2015 Anzac Day killing, which she described as “brutal”.

Mr Edge’s body was dumped at sea and never found.

“Your acts apart from being criminal (and) appallingly horrific, have caused much heartache for Mr Edge’s friends and family,” Justice Jenkins said.

“To the authorities… to Mr Edge’s family, to the community and to this court, you have never acknowledged your responsibility in Mr Edge’s death.”

Another man involved with Mr Edge’s killing, Christopher Joe Moir (23) was sentenced to 12 years jail with a 10-year minimum for manslaughter.

A third man Matthew James Howarth (28) was sentenced to six years as an accessory after the fact for helping dispose of Mr Edge’s body in a dinghy.

His sentence was increased to nine years with the addition of multiple drugs charges.

He will be eligible for parole in seven years.

The trio showed little emotion throughout the hearing, which was held in the District Court building.

Mr Edge’s mother Dawn Edge said the family was happy with the outcome.

“I’m just glad it’s over… it’s been a long process,” she said.

“How can you move on? I would prefer to have my son back to at least give him a burial but that’s not going to happen.”

The court heard Mr Edge (29) was beaten by Pihema and choked by Moir at Moir’s Clarkson home.

Moir’s then-partner Jodi Abbott had lured Mr Edge to the property, under the assumption he would be buying drugs.

Instead, Pihema was armed with a gun and other weapons waiting to accost Mr Edge in a bedroom over a debt.

The pair was involved in a struggle, during which Mr Edge began to overpower his attacker.

Pihema called for the help of Moir, who restrained Mr Edge in a choke hold.

Pihema further assaulted the victim once he was subdued.

Justice Jenkins said there was evidence the assault, which lasted up to 45 minutes, was brutal with a “considerable amount of blood shed by the deceased in the bedroom”.

Pihema sought the help of his friend Howarth, who was a drug dealer, to dispose of Mr Edge’s body at sea.

In a moving moment at the hearing, Mrs Edge read out her victim impact statement.

Family members and friends were in tears in the public gallery as she described the trauma for her and her husband of losing their only son.

“We can’t give him the funeral he deserves or a place of rest for him,” she read to the court.

“Everyday is a struggle, every day we go on living a life without our son.

“I am unable to comprehend how these three accused can disregard a human life in such a vile and inhumane way.”

Mrs Edge explained her son’s drug problems began after he was the victim in a serious car crash caused by a drunk driver, whose vehicle ploughed into the side of Mr Edge’s car.

She said Mr Edge developed “severe” post traumatic stress disorder, having suffered “multiple horrific injuries”.

Before then he had been a keen sportsman, representing Wanneroo in grade cricket.

She disagreed with the media’s portrayal of him as a drug addict.

“The Jason you see in the media is not the Jason we knew and loved,” she said.

In sentencing Pihema, Justice Jenkins acknowledged he was a father and that a reference from his mother said she had never seen a violent side to him.

New Zealand-born Pihema is not an Australian citizen, with Justice Jenkins warning him he could be deported once he had served his minimum sentence.

She acknowledged Moir, who was born in South Africa, had shown remorse for his actions and helped police with the investigation.

Moir had suffered post traumatic stress disorder and depression since the incident.

In sentencing Howarth, she took into account he had multiple qualifications in blue collar industries, but said he had also shown a penchant for criminal activity, which concerned her.