A man who killed then beheaded a friend he was supposed to be caring for showed little emotion on Thursday as he was found guilty of murder.
Darren Ward Gale, 53, remained subdued and stared at his feet, occasionally shaking his head as the verdict was read to the Supreme Court in Burnie, finding him guilty of the 2016 murder of Noel Joseph Ingham, 57.
The jury of eight women and four men had reached the unanimous verdict after just under four hours of deliberation, bringing to an end the almost seven week trial.
In sentencing submissions made to Justice Helen Wood, Crown prosecutor Jackie Hartnett said Mr Ingham likely died following traumatic blunt force head wounds.
Mr Ingham's body was found decapitated and buried in bushland at Dulverton in November 2016, and his head has never been found.
Because of that, forensic pathologists have not been able to conclusively determine a cause of death.
"It is a serious example of murder as it occurred in the deceased's own home and was a consequence of a breach of trust," Ms Hartnett said.
"The other aggravating feature is the the post offence treatment of the body. It was a callous act and a total disrespect of the deceased."
It was a callous act and a total disrespect of the deceased.Crown prosecutor Jackie Hartnett
Ms Hartnett also pointed to a number of previous convictions involving assault, saying that Gale had "a history of violence", and should be sentenced accordingly.
Gale told the court Mr Ingham died accidentally after collapsing on a fish tank in the living room of the West Ulverstone unit the two men shared.
Gale said, fearing he would blamed for the death, he panicked and decapitated Mr Ingham before burying his body, dropping his head in the Mersey River, killing his two dogs and destroying his car.
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In delivering a guilty verdict, the jury dismissed Gale's reasoning and version of events.
Justice Helen Wood thanked the jury for their dedication to the lengthy trial and attention to the evidence, and offered they could request an exemption from jury duty for the next decade.
The jury heard evidence from more than 60 witnesses including police, forensic scientists and neighbours of the victim during the trial.
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