'Callous' woman jailed over Kieren Pye's death

Kieren Pye. Photo supplied by Kieren Pye's family.
Kieren Pye. Photo supplied by Kieren Pye's family. Pye Family

INSTEAD of helping somebody who was being brutally attacked, Casandra Renee Lavelle drove over the man in her rush to flee.

"It is despicable conduct," Justice David Boddice said when he sentenced her to nine years behind bars.

"It was a brutal attack as part of a plan to rob someone."

Lavelle pleaded not guilty on Thursday to murdering Kieren Pye, but guilty to manslaughter.

She was the third person to be sentenced over 23-year-old Mr Pye's death in the south-east Queensland suburb of Carole Park.

Mr Pye was killed in April 2015 after Lavelle lured his friend Peter Bell to Carole Park on the pretence of a drug deal.

Crown Prosecutor Vicki Loury said the plea was a late one and Lavelle's actions on the night Mr Pye and Mr Bell were attacked were "callous".

Lavelle "drove away hurriedly, running over Kieren Pye's body as she did so," the prosecutor said.

"She lied about her knowledge of the offence, her involvement in it, and the identities of the others involved."

Lavelle knew her co-offenders had weapons, Ms Loury said.

Kieren's father Michael Pye said the death of his son had tested his family's "hope and resilience time and time again".

Mr Pye told Brisbane Supreme Court people were sometimes expected to "toughen up and face what is thrown at us head first" but some things nobody can just "toughen up" about.

No punishment was strong enough for the horrendous act of violence, Mr Pye added.

Defence counsel Catherine Morgan said Lavelle had a "prejudicial childhood" peppered with domestic violence and alcohol abuse.

She was a methamphetamine addict and her focus was on getting drugs from Mr Bell.

Since being in custody "she had remained drug free," Ms Morgan said.

Justice David Boddice said the fatal incident at Carole Park was over in a few minutes.

Paul Benecke approached Mr Bell while two other men who had been hiding in bushes attacked Mr Pye.

Lavelle will be eligible for parole on October 2, 2019.

Benecke, 44, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on November 3.

He spent 748 days in pre-sentence custody and will be eligible for parole in October 2018.

Later that month, Wayne Lemaga was found not guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter.

And on November 23, Tupu Sauaga was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 13 years' jail.

Outside court, father Michael Pye said the past few years had been very tough for his family.

"We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the help of Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group," he said.

He said the sentences "could have been better" but at least some people had been jailed for the crime.

Mr Pye said the family was also grateful for the efforts prosecutors had made.-NewsRegional

Topics:  casandra renee lavelle ipswich court ipswich crime kieren pye paul benecke tupu sauaga wayne lemaga

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