Gory details of Rockhampton beheading revealed
A FORMER prisoner of war found guilty of murdering and decapitating his friend called out "you have betrayed us because we are an outsider" as he was sentenced today.
Mohammed Khan, 38, was today found guilty by a jury of murdering Syeid Alam, 33, on the banks of the Fitzroy River on April 5, 2016.
The betrayal comment came through Khan's Rohingya court interpreter as Khan was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.
Khan's face was emotionless until Justice Graeme Crow took time to read the victim impact statement of Syeid's widow Ferdous Ferdous.
Ferdous Alam, wife of murdered Allenstown man Syeid Alam, and Sha Alam (brother of Syeid) after Syeid's remains were found near the Fitzroy Barrage on April 16, 2016.
It was then that Khan's head dropped to his chest and he sighed sadly.
The jury reached the verdict after deliberating for 1.5 days and after hearing evidence for a week in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton.
Mr Alam was found dead at a creek off the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton on April 16, 2016. It was 10 days after he was last seen alive.
His body was naked, he had been decapitated and his head was wrapped in jeans. The body and head were found in the same gully but at different locations.
Crown prosecutor Joshua Phillips said Khan murdered and decapitated his friend either over sexually explicit photographs or video of Khan's wife Suparti Suparti, or as a way to hurt the man who had an affair with his wife - Syeid's brother Sha Alam Sha Alam.
Defence barrister Andrew Hoare argued Khan knew about his wife's affair in mid February and remained friends with Syeid, with independent witnesses placing them at a barbecue two days before Syeid went missing.
The court heard the case against Khan was circumstantial with no forensic evidence linking Khan to Syeid's death.
Mr Hoare said Khan was born in the country formerly known as Burma, now Myanmar, and does not know his precise age but it is estimated as 38.
"He left Burma 20 years ago and he has not seen his parents since he left," he said.
Mr Hoare said Khan left his village as the Myanmar army arrived.
"They killed and tortured people of his ethnicity," he said.
"He was taken and forced to be a slave for the Myanmar army.
"He was forced to perform labour for them for three years until he escaped.
"He was beaten and tortured with anything at hand including sticks or rifle butts and he continues to be scarred by that physically."
Mr Hoare said Khan escaped to Bangladesh by boat.
"If he had remained, or that escape had been unsuccessful, he would have been killed had he been intercepted," he said.
Mr Hoare said Khan went on to live in Malaysia for 10 years and married his wife Suparti Suparti in 2005. They have two teenage sons who still live in Rockhampton.
"He worked as a labourer in Malaysia until he saved up enough money to pay to be brought into Australia," he said.
"He spent seven nights at sea with seven other people on a small boat until he was detained.
"He spent one year in immigration detention and was then placed in Adelaide.
"He later moved to Rockhampton to work at the abattoir."
Mr Hoare said Suparti came to Australia two years after Khan did.
Justice Crow said Khan had been offered a new chance at life in Australia.
"The murder of your close friend is truly shocking," he said.
Khan responded through his interpreter: "I know it is shocking but the system has betrayed me just because I am a foreigner. There was no evidence. There was nothing to prove that I was guilty. I don't know how you prove that."
Mr Hoare went and spoke with his client after this outburst.
Justice Crow said the evidence in this case, including lack of self defence injuries, showed it was a stealth attack on Syeid.
"The beheading of any human body is truly horrendous," he said.
Justice Crow said Syeid's two older boys missed their father and had struggled, and his youngest did not recall his father.
He said Ferdous has had understandable psychological problems and has had difficulties with her visa without a provider for her family.
Khan had another outburst at this stage, which led to Mr Hoare again going to speak with his client in the dock.
"Ferdous Ferdous is very lonely, very sad and has had a terrible life since the loss of her husband," Justice Crow said.
Murder is one of a handful of offences that requires a life sentence in Queensland.
There are different mandatory minimum non-parole periods including:
30 years - murder of more than one person or by an offender with a previous murder conviction
25 years - murder of a police officer
20 years - murder other than listed above, or repeat serious child sex offence
15 years - any other life sentence imposed for another offence, e.g. rape.
Justice Crow declared 1367 days presentence custody.
Mr Phillips said the evidence showed Mr Khan being in the 'kill zone' at the time of the murder.
The evidence included CCTV capturing a vehicle which looked like Mr Khan's travelling along Lakes Creek Rd towards the river at the time it was believed Syeid was murdered, phone call logs on Mr Khan's phone deleted, Mr Khan's wife's affair with Syeid's brother Sha Alam Sha Alam, Mr Khan's phone being detected by cell towers in the area of the 'kill zone' and that Syeid told his wife he was going fishing with Mr Khan that night.
Mr Hoare said the crown's timeline gave a 43 minute window for Khan to drive from his Dean St house to McAlister St, kill and behead his friend and drive home where he stays for about 15 minutes before driving off with his housemate to another friend's place in Fitzroy St.
Mr Hoare said the forensic pathologist's evidence on Friday was that there was no way to avoid the blood splatter that comes from cutting the arteries in the neck or beheading - that it was going to "spurt" from these vessels but the direction and distance depended on the environment and other factors.
The court heard there was no forensic evidence linking Mr Khan to Syeid's murder, despite the use of a forensic test that picks up minuscule amounts of blood in areas that have been cleaned - the dilution reach being 1:100,000 - being used by scenes of crime officers.
"The crown says he (Mr Khan) cleaned his vehicle," Mr Hoare said.
"When did he do that in the 43 minutes?
"Blood hasn't been found … because he isn't the killer.
"There must have been a change of clothes … or is he meant to have killed him in the nude?
"Then he's swimming in the Fitzroy River covered in blood.
"There's no towel … no soap."
He said the second scenes of crime officer testified there was mud and dirt in the footwells of Mr Khan's black Jeep.
Mr Hoare also pointed to evidence of Syeid's belongings that were left along the river bank which included bank cards and identification from his wallet, and a key ring with no keys.
He said Syeid's wife Ferdous testified that they kept their money in the house, but not in a safe box.
Mr Hoare said Ferdous told the court Syeid told her in December he had lost $20,000 to $30,000 gambling and could no longer support her and the children so she had to go to the Red Cross for aid.
He said the court had heard evidence that by April, Ferdous went to Sydney with $66,000.