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Quirk flatmate found guilty of being accessory to murder

Amanda Quirk with her cat Megsy.
Amanda Quirk with her cat Megsy. Contributed

UPDATE: A Supreme Court justice has jailed Rachel Narelle Smith for seven years for her role in the Amanda Quirk murder.

Smith, 41, will become eligible for parole after she serves three years behind bars for being an accessory after Ms Quirk's murder at the Booval home she shared with her and Christopher James Swan, 39.

Swan has already been sentenced to life behind bars for the brutal killing and dumping Ms Quirk's body in forest in northern NSW on March 31, 2010.

Justice Peter Lyons said Smith had aided Swan after the murder when she returned to the Dudleigh Street home three days later, grabbed a garbage bag filled with evidence and burned it in bush land.

"Any evidence was effectively destroyed by that," he said.

Justice Lyons said she had also cleaned up the blood in the house straight after the murder, let Swan drive her car to dump Ms Quirk across state lines and had given a false account of her flatmate's whereabouts when a concerned friend asked where she was.

The court heard Smith, from Toowoomba, became turned to drugs after her two-year-old son was killed running out on a road.

Smith's defence counsel had argued police were unlikely to follow up a missing persons report for Ms Quirk without Smith going to police.

Crown prosecutor Ben Power said Smith did not show justice was at the forefront of her mind when she shot up with amphetamines, bought with money stolen from Ms Quirk, after the murder or when she disposed of evidence three days later.

 

EARLIER: Murder victim Amanda Quirk can now rest in peace knowing both her flatmates will spend time behind bars for their roles in her death.

Rachel Narelle Smith, 41, was found guilty of being an accessory to murder after a jury spent almost a day and a half deliberating over the role she might have played.

Christopher James Swan, 39, was found guilty of murder last October and was sentenced to life behind bars for the brutal killing and the dumping of Ms Quirk's body in forest in northern NSW.

But that jury had not been able to make a finding of guilt for Smith, leading to a hung trial.

This jury filed into Brisbane Supreme Court jury just before noon on Friday to deliver not guilty verdicts for murder and manslaughter.

Based on the questions asked ahead of their verdict, the group could not be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Smith was actively involved in the "brutal" murder or, if she was, whether she was forced to do so.

But they found her guilty of being an accessory after the fact, having heard she cleaned up the blood at the house they shared and burned other evidence in bushland.

Smith was remanded in custody and will be ordered to spend time behind bars.

Topics:  amanda quirk murder rachel narelle smith



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