A jury took two-and-a-half hours to reject Peter John Carroll’s account of the death of Marcus Luke Tucker – that the assault with a fearsome metal steering lock was just Tucker being taught a lesson.
Instead, they chose the Crown’s version that it amounted to a virtual execution for an earlier drugs robbery.
The April 24, 2016, bashing in the bedroom of an Addington house led to 36-year-old Tucker being left dead, tied, wrapped, and burnt beside Drain Road near Ellesmere, for a drugs robbery he didn’t actually commit.
The Crown made much of the fact that two men in this methamphetamine-powered netherworld had the same nickname, “Ruckus”.
Neither were apparently popular figures. One of them was an armed robber who held up drug dealers and took their very expensive merchandise. The other was Tucker, who ripped off drug dealers by paying for meth with photocopied $100 notes – known as “Rutherfords” for the scientist who appears on them.
Carroll, 53, told the trial he was one of the dealers that Tucker had ripped off, having been paid for $1800 worth of meth with three real $100 bills and the rest photocopies.
The trial saw one of the counterfeit notes. The clear panes just appear black. Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes described them as laughable.
Mr Hawes systemically put to Carroll all the factors that supported the Crown case that Tucker had been bashed and killed because he was suspected of having been involved in the gunpoint robbery of a dealer who had $10,000 worth of drugs taken in March.
Carroll didn’t accept those factors but they had already stacked up against his account of what happened.
The Crown case was that the dealer wanted “Ruckus” roughed up – his head “taken off”. And when the dealer’s associates found Tucker also went by that name, Carroll dealt to him. He thought he might have hit him a bit hard.
As for the dealer – his name is suppressed – he gave evidence of being taken aback to find he was being shown a body in a car boot because it was rather more than he expected, and he certainly didn’t want the other two men involved in the robbery dealt with in the same fashion, if they were found.
Carroll was keen that the jury would accept that he was only teaching Tucker a lesson for his counterfeit note rip-offs. That meant that he might not have intended to kill Tucker because if he killed him he would not get the $1500 he was owed for meth already provided.
That was the defence bid to get “murderous intent” off the table, but it didn’t make a lot of sense.
Carroll said Tucker had used a woman as an intermediary to get the drugs and then had her pass on the bogus banknotes in payment. The fake notes were noticed straight away and the woman was told to sort it out, Carroll said.
Three days later, Carroll says that Tucker was asleep in the bedroom of the woman who had been the intermediary. Carroll was visiting her to deliver drugs and pick up money three or four times a day and it seems bizarre that Tucker would have snoozed off in her bedroom.
Going to sleep there, in those circumstances, must have been the most dangerous thing that he could possibly have done.
The jury may have noticed that problem with the defence account as it considered its verdict.
It came back with its guilty verdict at 3.40pm, after two-and-a-half hours of deliberations.
Carroll remained impassive in the dock, but people in the public gallery reacted with a “Yes” as the verdict was delivered.
Justice Nicholas Davidson remanded Carroll in custody for sentencing on November 2 and asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared. He thanked the jury for its service, and thanked the public gallery for its restraint.