Alexis Jeffery. Were jurors given the right advice before finding Robert Ian Trebeck guilty of her murder?
Alexis Jeffery. Were jurors given the right advice before finding Robert Ian Trebeck guilty of her murder? Supplied

'Murderous intent' - did mother's killer mean to do it?

JUST three weeks after meeting him on Facebook, she was dead.

Beside Goondiwindi's Macintyre River, Robert Ian Trebeck murdered young mother Alexis Jeffery, strangling and suffocating her, then dragging her body away.

That is what jurors agreed on at Trebeck's murder trial in Toowoomba in 2016.

But Trebeck's murder conviction has now sparked an appeal to the state's highest court.

Barrister Saul Holt QC appeared for Trebeck on Tuesday.

He told Queensland Court of Appeal that jurors received "extraordinarily generic" directions before finding Trebeck guilty.

Mr Holt raised concerns with how Justice Glenn Martin directed jurors in relation to Trebeck's actions after Jeffery's death.

This evidence included the disposal of Ms Jeffery's body, lies Trebeck allegedly told police, and the disposal of clothes after the killing.

It was previously reported Trebeck killed the mother of three by wrapping her jeans around her neck.

He then put the jeans and some underwear in a hedge 100m away, on Short St.

Carl Heaton QC, representing the public prosecutor, said Trebeck's was "a straightforward circumstantial case".

And he said jurors had "powerful evidence" regardless of generic directions they got.

Other issues at Tuesday's hearing included whether directions were enough to help jurors understand Trebeck's intentions.

"You do have to establish the murderous intent," Justice David Boddice told Mr Heaton.

"There is a requirement for the judge to identify, in respect of post-offence conduct, whether it goes only to the question of manslaughter or to murderous intent. That didn't happen here," the judge added.

"This is the difficulty. A live issue for the jury was, once you find he's the killer, you still have to decide whether it's murder or manslaughter."

Mr Heaton replied: "This was, as far as the defendant was concerned, a case of murder or nothing. That's the way the case was litigated."

But Justice Boddice seemed unpersuaded, saying the onus was on the Crown to prove murderous intent.

After the jury's verdict in November 2016, Justice Martin sentenced Trebeck, then 35, to life in prison.

If the appeal is upheld, a retrial may be ordered.

Ms Jeffery was killed on March 16, 2014.

She was 24. -NewsRegional


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