Police show their respect at the funeral of Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding.
Police show their respect at the funeral of Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding.

Another cop shot as family of slain officer awaits sentence

ON A day when the family of slain Gold Coast police officer Damian Leeding was expecting his killers to be sentenced to life behind bars, another family almost faced a similar tragedy.

Coast dog squad chief Sergeant Gary Hamrey was shot in the head at point blank range, allegedly without warning, while responding to an armed hold-up at the Arundel Tavern about 1.20am.

The tavern is mere kilometres from where Detective Leeding, 35, suffered fatal wounds when he was shot in the face attending to an armed robbery at the Pacific Pines Tavern on May 29, 2011.

The father of two died in hospital a few days later.

Despite the striking similarities between the two police shootings, Sgt Hamrey is expected to recover from his injuries, police say.

Both come on National Police Remembrance Day - which is about those who have fallen in the line of duty.

Phillip Graeme Abell, 41, and Donna Lee McAvoy, 39, were convicted earlier this week of murdering Det Leeding.

The only sentence available is life imprisonment and they face a minimum 15 years before they can apply for parole.

But their sentence in Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday was adjourned to seek further material.

The court heard the Crown was seeking a longer non-parole period for Abell than his defence lawyers expected and they sought more time to prepare.

There was also issues with Mc Avoy's pre-sentence custody and other charges she will soon face.

Abell will now be sentenced on October 8 while McAvoy was adjourned until a date to be fixed.

The pair already had pleaded guilty to armed robbery and depriving seven people of their liberty at the start of the trial but had pleaded not guilty to the murder.



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