Couple jailed for attempted murder

TWO people, who tried to murder a man "in cold blood" before going into hiding in Tweed Heads and Byron Bay, have been jailed for more than a decade each.

Neil Alan Simpson and Toni Maree Prestidge were found guilty of attempting to murder Patrick Francis Fein in a Brisbane apartment - fracturing his face with a baton, cutting his throat and stabbing him four times.

Fein managed to escape, with spurting blood, by fighting back and jumping over a second-floor balcony.

Simpson and Prestidge fled to Tweed Heads, Kingscliff, Pottsville and then Byron Bay, buying camping gear to survive while on the run with Prestidge's son.

Justice Martin Daubney sentenced Simpson, who had a lengthy criminal history, to 14 years in jail and Prestidge, a mother of a young son, to 12 years in jail.

He said Fein had been psychologically scarred by the attack but was fortunate not to suffer any lasting physical injuries.

Prestidge had lured Fein to her Stafford unit with the promise of drugs and sex through 60-odd text messages.

"(Fein) succumbed to the temptation," Justice Daubney said.

"The reason or motive for the attack is unknown on this evidence.

"What is clear is that it was a pre-meditated attack in which you were both active participants.

"To attempt to murder someone in cold blood, as you both did, is a serious matter that deserves serious punishment."

Justice Daubney said he was sentencing on the basis the jury had rejected both accused versions of the incident.
Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller said there was no evidence the victim provoked the attack and pointed to the comment "finish him off" made during the attack as proving the attempted murder.

He said the fact it was not a murder charge was about Fein's ability to fight back and escape by jumping from the second-story balcony.

"He was subjected to both a deliberate and orchestrated attack (from Simpson and Prestidge)," he said.

Mr Fuller said Simpson showed no remorse as he had always denied involvement.

He said Prestidge made partial admissions but denied responsibility, which the jury rejected.

Barrister Simon Lewis, for Prestidge, said while the jury had rejected her version, the evidence showed "there was a degree of control exerted on her" by Simpson.

Barrister Peter Nolan, for Simpson, said his client was married with children but short of money and "appeared to be living a destitute life at the time".

"There's evidence to show my client at one stage started to desist," he said.

Simpson has already served 572 days in custody. Prestidge has served 124 days.



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