Vigilante gets life for murder of Lakes Entrance man

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The vigilante ringleader behind the torture and murder of a father whose body was found dumped in a remote grave has been jailed for life.

Albert Thorn will be nearing 90 before he is eligible for parole, after a Supreme Court jury found him guilty of the murder of Bradley Lyons, 30, in a remote part of eastern Victoria in 2018.

Murder victim Bradley Lyons.

Lyons was set upon in the bedroom of his Lakes Entrance home on December 2 and beaten with fists and a metal pole by a group of men led by the now 58-year-old Thorn.

The men wanted him to confess to claims he had sexually assaulted children. He was bound and bundled into the boot of Thorn’s car, which was driven to a rural property.

Lyons, who had three children and several stepchildren, was left in the car while his attackers plotted their next move – tying him to a massage table where he was assaulted and tortured.

Thorn and others then bound and shrouded Lyons, returned him to the car boot and drove him to a remote area of bushland at Double Bridges, near Lakes Entrance.

Thorn was found to have shot Lyons in the back of the head at close range. Fellow accused Jordan Bottom and Rikki Smith were convicted of manslaughter and will be sentenced at a later date.

Lyons was either in or beside a shallow grave when he was shot, and his body was buried and covered with branches and leaves.

By the time his remains were discovered months later, they were so badly decomposed an autopsy could not determine the extent of any soft-tissue injuries. It did reveal the shotgun wound to the head and a broken jaw and cheekbone.

Justice Andrew Tinney found Thorn had not shown any remorse for his crimes against a man he didn’t even know but had instead displayed “truly chilling callousness and disregard for the sanctity of human life”.

Tinney said Lyons, known as BJ, was precious to his community and those who loved him, and his life was taken deliberately and heartlessly by men who subjected him to a horrifying ordeal.

Prosecutor Ray Gibson, KC, previously said Thorn had committed his calculated and premeditated killing on the basis of wanting to protect children, while actually having the opposite effect.

He described the impact on Lyons’ own children as nothing short of tragic, highlighting the evil of vigilantism.

Thorn will be eligible for parole after serving 32 years.


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