Toolbox murderers sentenced to life
A court has lashed a group of men for their "senseless yet sadistic" killing of two people stuffed into a toolbox that was found at the bottom of a lagoon.
Bloodied, beaten and tied up, Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru spent their last living moments pleading for their lives.
The pair had been tortured for hours by the group of men before being stuffed into a large metal toolbox that was dumped in a lagoon south of Brisbane.
On Monday, Stou Daniels, Trent Michael Thrupp and Davy Malu Junior Taiao were each jailed for life for the depraved murders.
Each of the men also received 10 years' jail for two counts of torture, to be served concurrently.
Waylon Ngaketo Cowan Walker, who was found guilty of the pair's manslaughter, was sentenced to 12 years' jail.
The final sentences bring closure to the victim's families, who have spent years waiting for justice to be delivered.
Four other people received jail sentences for their respective roles in the pair's deaths.
Daniels, Thrupp, Taiao pleaded not guilty to murdering and torturing the pair while Walker pleaded not guilty to murder only.
After a three-week trial and just over two hours of deliberation, a jury found Daniels, Thrupp and Taiao guilty on all counts.
Walker was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.
Throughout the trial, the court was told Breton and Triscaru were lured to a unit in Kingston on January 24, 2016 where they were assaulted and tied up with zip ties and duct tape.
Breton had a photo of one of the men, Daniels, on his phone at the time.
Daniels was suspicious he was being set up.
The pair were forced into the toolbox and confined there for hours before it was driven to Scrubby Creek, near Logan.
There, weighed down by concrete blocks and tyres, it was forcibly sunk into the muddy waters.
Breton and Triscaru's decomposed bodies were discovered in the box by police in February, weeks after they were reported missing.
"Each victim died in a cold, watery grave," Justice David Boddice said.
"They are despicable crimes … perpetrated against two defenceless individuals.
"Disgracefully, in their final hours, you deprived them of being able to look at each other … they were placed in that toolbox so each had to look at each others' feet.
Justice Boddice said as a final indignity, rubbish was loaded into the toolbox with them "as if they were in a garbage bin".
Crown prosecutor David Meredith told the court on Monday that Daniels was the "ringleader" and the events were driven by his paranoia over Breton's photo.
He said Breton and Triscaru must have known they were going to die while imprisoned in the toolbox.
"The psychological aspects (of torture) were appalling," Mr Meredith said.
He said Thrupp showed "no remorse" through the events and continued to do Daniels' bidding "right up to the end".
The court was told Walker had the choice of not participating in the events but went back, either out of intimidation or to secure his supply of methylamphetamine.
Walker fled the country when he found out about the pair's deaths and lied to police.
In a tearful victim impact statement, Cory's widow Miranda Parkinson said she had not been able to properly grieve the loss of her partner for years.
"It has been hard, painful for everyone who loves Cory but most of all for our daughter," she said.
She began sobbing as she described Cory as an amazing father to their young daughter and questioned how anyone could decide why their life should be taken away.
"How can anyone think this is acceptable?"
Ms Parkinson's stepmother said Cory's life was "cruelly taken".
"You will never know the pain of having to explain to your grandchild that bad people had hurt her daddy and he would never be coming back," she said.
"Even at the age of 7, she still asks 'Why?'
"What would you tell her? It was senseless and inhumane."
Tamara Breton, Cory's sister, said her brother was a selfless human being who had "so much love and time for his nieces and nephews".
She described every day as a "rollercoaster" and found herself wondering "how much he suffered" in the end.
"He was an amazing family man … he was a great father and loved watching (his daughter) grow," Ms Breton said.
"Cory was the glue that held our family together and this tragedy has absolutely destroyed it.
"The person I shared my childhood memories is gone … I will have no-one to remind me of them.
"Every day is overshadowed by the fact he is not here to celebrate with us … I have nights I cannot sleep because it all goes over and over in my head."
Viktoria Duga, the mother of Iuliana Triscaru, described how her life was turned upside down because of the killing.
"We received a lifelong sentence because of your actions," Ms Duga said.
Ms Duga said none of the men deserved freedom for their cruelty, describing how she felt overwhelming grief and loss for her daughter.
"It takes my breath away, joy is far away, all I can think of is how she suffered," she said.
Justice David Boddice said Taiao, Thrupp and Daniels displayed a complete lack of humanity in the killing and were "devoid of any remorse".
Daniels, Thrupp and Taiao will not be eligible for parole for 30 years.
Justice Boddice took into account the time all four men had spent in custody since 2016, which was declared as time served.
Originally published as Toolbox murderers sentenced to life