Daily Examiner

Guilty plea ends trial for murder

IT WAS supposed to last a month, but now it's all over.

The Supreme Court trial of a Kempsey man charged for his part in the murder of an elderly Kempsey man in November 2010 drastically shortened yesterday when the accused, Steven John Smith, changed his plea to guilty on all three charges.

Acting Justice Barr convicted Smith, 26, for his part in the murder of Stanley 'Bruce' Davies, 75, on November 20.

He was also convicted on charges of armed robbery in company and assault with intent to rob in company for another incident two days earlier when Smith and two other men broke into the home of an elderly couple at Dondingalog, near Kempsey.

He and his assailants assaulted the man with an axe handle, forced the wife to withdraw money from a bank account, while holding her husband hostage at home, ransacked their house and stole the couple's car.

In the statement of facts police described how three men entered Mr Davies' house and subjected him to a savage persistent assault, severely injuring his face, head and stomach.

During the investigation, police bugged Smith's home and heard him talk about the "kidnapping" of the elderly couple and the attack on Davies.

The transcript of the listening device revealed the attack was motivated by the need for money to buy drugs.

Justice Barr adjourned the trial for sentence at Port Macquarie on November 13.

Richard Smith was convicted and sentenced to 17 years jail at a Supreme Court trial in Port Macquarie in August.

A third man has pleaded not guilty and will face the Supreme Court in Grafton on November 18

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