crime scene arosa motel Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate
crime scene arosa motel Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

Coffs Harbour meth-binge murderer jailed for 27 years

A MAN who murdered a woman during a meth binge in a Coffs Harbour motel and tricked a taxi driver into helping him dump the body has been jailed for 27 years and nine months.  

Wayne Edward Jones beat Michelle Jane Reynolds unconscious, poured a corrosive chemical over her stomach and then strangled her to death using a piece of cloth in December 2012.  

Ms Reynolds, 34, and Jones were abusing amphetamines for days in a room at the Arosa Motel in Coffs Harbour when Jones entered a "drug-fuelled rage" and took her life, Sydney Supreme Court Justice Richard Button ruled.

  "In short, the offender bashed and thereafter strangled to death a defenceless woman," Justice Button said.  

"His intention at the latter time was to kill.

"Before death the deceased was injured with a chemical. After death her body was treated with contempt."

Jones called a Coffs Harbour taxi driver and had him help move luggage from the motel room to the back of the taxi van in the afternoon of Saturday, December 15, 2012.  

The driver obliged and helped Jones lift into the taxi the contents of a bundled-up and tied white bed sheet.  

"Completely unbeknown to (the driver), contained in that bundle was the battered and bloodied body of the deceased," Justice Button said.  

Jones told the driver he wanted to look at potential real estate opportunities within the Coffs Harbour area and asked to be driven around for an inspection tour.  

"In truth, he was looking for an isolated spot at which he could dump the body of the deceased," Justice Button said.   They visited a number of locations before stopping on Butlers Rd, near the township of Bonville, so Jones could relieve himself in the bush.  

The driver also exited the van to smoke a cigarette, not noticing as Jones dumped the bundle of sheets containing Ms Reynolds' body in the scrub.  

They got back into the taxi before Jones told the driver he had absentmindedly left a bag back at his room and they returned to the Arosa Motel.
   

  Jones re-entered the room and left again with another bundle of bed sheets.  

The motel proprietor heard loud bangs coming from the room and saw Jones exit with the bed sheets.  

He approached the killer and a tug-of-war over the bundle ensued before Jones agreed to empty the bundle in the back of the taxi.   

Small items of rubbish, personal effects and pieces of yellow foam rubber similar to the mattress bases within the room poured into the back of the taxi.  

The motel owner then saw into Jones's room and called police because the room had been trashed.  

Jones got back in the taxi and was driven to Brelsford Park, near the centre of Coffs Harbour, where he became increasingly agitated and started digging in the dirt.  

He said to the taxi driver: "Where the f*** is it, it was here before."   

Meanwhile, police noted there was blood on the walls of the motel room and went to Brelsford Park to intercept Jones.  

They noted he was covered in scabs and sores and he told police he had taken a "bad mix" of cocaine.

  "When the police spoke to the offender at the park, he immediately tried to implicate (the taxi driver) in the death of the deceased," Justice Button said. 

  "That gentleman was, of course, completely innocent of any wrongdoing.  

"He gave a garbled version that he and the deceased had been attacked by persons with shotguns, and that those persons had disposed of the body of the deceased.   

"That was, of course, a further lie."  

Police found almost 90 grams of cocaine among Jones's belongings at Brelsford Park.  

Ms Reynold's body was found in bushland the next day, as well as two blood-stained bed sheets in a dumpster behind the motel.  

The forensic pathologist found a length of cord had been torn and wrapped around her neck three times.   

Other cords were tied around her wrists and ankles behind her in a manner Justice Button referred to as "hog-tying".  

Her nose was broken and a chemical burn on her stomach was found to have occurred before her death.  

Jones had previously been convicted of grievous bodily harm for beating a woman's head several times with a motor vehicle "club lock" in a Central Coast car park in 2003.

  He pleaded guilty to the drug offences and was found guilty by a jury in Coffs Harbour of murder in May.  

Justice Button said Jones had not shown "the slightest remorse for the death of the deceased, or even a grudging acceptance of responsibility".  

"It is certainly true that the offender has demonstrated a disturbing tendency to the infliction of serious violence, culminating in a brutal murder," he said.  

 

-APN NEWSDESK  



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