Perth brothers get life for murder

Stock image.
Stock image.

TWO brothers twice found guilty of murdering a Perth businessman have been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 21 years.

Peter Davis, 57, was lured to a Malaga address in May 2011 under the guise of giving a business quote.

He was bashed and suffered a “cardiac event”, the West Australian Supreme Court heard on Wednesday.

Murder victim Peter Davis. Picture: Meagan Powell

His body was found covered in plastic in the boot of his vehicle at the Great Eastern Motor Lodge the next day after his son Kurt “by chance” drove into the car park.

Ambrose John Clarke, who had been a business associate until 2009, believed he was owed $330,000 and sought retribution, Justice Michael Corboy said.

He then enlisted the help of his brother Xavier Gerard Clarke.

Justice Corboy said the killing was premeditated and Mr Davis was dead by the time he was wrapped in the plastic.

The brothers were first convicted of Mr Davis’ murder in December 2013 and were sentenced to life behind bars with a minimum of 18 years.

Supplied image of murdered businessman Peter John Davis. Picture: AAP

But in February 2018, their convictions were quashed and they were granted bail ahead of their retrial, which ran for almost four months before they were again found guilty.

Justice Corboy said he did not need to hand down the same sentence because the facts were different.

Referring to the victim impact statements, Justice Corboy said Mr Davis was a “larger than life character” who would have been happy to be known as a “good bloke”.

The court previously heard further details from the statements, including Mr Davis’ wife Jennifer who said she had “struggled to survive” over the past eight years.

“He was the rock, the centre of our family … I relied on him,” she said.

Ms Davis said she lived with fear and anxiety knowing the Clarke brothers were on bail awaiting their retrial.

His sister Coralanne Cranston was shaking as she read her statement, describing the “sheer hell” of her loss and not being able to say goodbye.

“This will haunt me for the rest of my life,” she said.

“Losing him has broken my heart. It can never be repaired.”

Ms Cranston read her late mother’s victim impact statement, which said Mr Davis always looked out for people less fortunate than him.

“He was caring, loving and considerate of those around him,” she said.

But his trust was betrayed and he was “killed in the most brutal of ways”, she added.

Justice Corboy noted neither offender had a criminal record of consequence and had the support of their family.

Ambrose Clarke, who appeared in court via video link from prison due to a back injury, kept his head down during the proceedings.

Xavier Clarke, whose lawyer tried during the trial to blame the attack on an Estonian gang, appeared in person.

Clarke brothers’ brother-in-law Adrian Bertino-Clarke (centre) with Ambrose Clarke’s daughter Phoebe Clarke (left) outside the WA Supreme Court in Perth, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Picture: AAP

The Clarke family insist there has been a miscarriage of justice and have vowed to continue the fight.

Brother-in-law Adrian Bertino-Clarke said the case was too technical for a jury, but did not regret proceeding with the first appeal despite the longer sentence.

“Whenever there’s an injustice you have to fight,” he said.

Ms Davis, who walked out of court smiling, said she was not worried about a second appeal.

“They appealed on a technicality last time. I don’t think they’ve got many options left,” she said.

“They can say what they want to say but we’re just going to go on. This is it for us and we’re happy.”

Ms Davis said justice had been achieved and her husband, who was a grandfather of two and missed out on meeting six more grandchildren, could finally rest.

“I don’t think moving on is the word. You learn to live with everything,” she said.

Ms Cranston agreed, saying: “I can’t move on. He’s not here.”

But she smiled as she remembered her brother fondly as a “rascal” in his youth.

— AAP