Man jailed for 22 years for ‘vicious’ bashing of friend during Tasmanian camping trip

Man jailed for 22 years for ‘vicious’ bashing of friend during Tasmanian camping trip

A man who bashed his friend to death and abandoned him on the side of a remote road in Tasmania’s central highlands has been sentenced to a maximum of 22 years in prison.

Russell John Nowoczynski, 49, was found guilty in February of murdering of Donald William Crow, 39, on a quiet road near Interlaken, near Oatlands on June 12, 2016.

In sentencing, Chief Justice Alan Blow described the crime as a “vicious and intentional killing” and said Mr Crow’s family would “miss him greatly for the rest of their lives”.

“It’s particularly bad because of the ferocity of the force used and the abandonment of a dying man in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter,” Justice Blow said.

“There’s no reason to think it was premeditated … I don’t understand why they started to fight.”

The court heard the two men had been drinking during the afternoon and had run their four wheel drive off an isolated road, sparking a physical argument.

Justice Blow said Mr Crow suffered at least 12 blows or kicks to the head and severe blunt force injuries similar to those sustained by someone in a serious car accident.

The court heard Nowoczynski forced stones and gravel into his victim’s mouth and drove off, leaving him in the snow to die.

Nowoczynski’s lawyer, Kim Baumeler, argued he acted in self-defence after alleging Mr Crow had attacked him first.

But Justice Blow said he was “not satisfied that Mr Crow initiated the use of violence”.

The court heard Nowoczynski was trained in taekwondo and had delivered “knife-hand” punches to Mr Crow.

Director of Public Prosecutions Daryl Coates told the jury police found partially deleted images and videos of Nowoczynski with blood smeared on his face, on his mobile phone.

Forensic testing later confirmed the blood was that of Mr Crow’s.

Sentence ‘won’t bring Don back’

A mental health assessment ruled Nowoczynski was not suffering from any mental illness.

A woman yelled “you’re disgusting” as an emotionless Nowoczynski was led out of the court room.

Outside, family members said the sentence was “no where near long enough”.

“He had heaps of friends, heaps of love and respect … he was really kind,” said the victim’s sister, Shelley Crow.

“It wouldn’t matter how long the sentence was, it won’t bring Don back,” said stepmother Gail Kenny.

Nowoczynski will be eligible for parole after 13 years and six months.

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