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Murdering brain remover Yeng Jun Wu denied leave to appeal

Date

Mark Russell

A bankrupt businessman who brutally tortured and murdered his brother-in-law and removed his brain has lost his bid to overturn his 27-year jail sentence.

Yeng Jun Wu, 46, had been found guilty by a Supreme Court jury of murdering Shao Qing ‘Victor’ Chen, to whom he had a debt of more than $250,000.

Wu applied for leave to appeal against both his conviction and sentence but this was dismissed by the Court of Appeal Justices Mark Weinberg, Pamela Tate and Paul Coghlan.

In a judgment handed down on Thursday, Justice Coghlan said he agreed with the sentencing judge’s decision to jail Wu for 27 years given he had also defiled Mr Wu’s body by removing his brain from the cranial vault and placing it next to him.

‘‘It has long been established that the treatment meted out to the deceased after his death by whoever it was that killed him is capable of being viewed as a significant factor of aggravation,’’ Justice Coghlan said.

‘‘I have no doubt that this case falls at the upper end of seriousness of the crime of murder.

‘‘It may also have done so even without this particular aggravating feature (removal of the brain).

‘‘When proper regard is had to where the offending sits in the heirarchy of the crime of murder, I am entirely satisfied that the sentence imposed was within range.’’

Mr Chen, 41, had most likely been asleep when Wu set upon him in his bedroom with a heavy, sharp weapon believed to have been a machete or an axe.

He was struck repeatedly before being coerced down the stairs and killed, despite trying to ward off the murderous attack.

Mr Chen, a plasterer, was found by his father lying face down in the family room at a property in Endeavour Hills on February 11, 2012.

Wu denied any involvement and initially tried to blame Mr Chen's wife's brother for the murder.

Justice Coghlan said if Wu was not the murderer, ‘‘he was singularly unfortunate in having to confront so many individual strands of evidence, all of which pointed directly towards him’’.

‘‘First, he just happened to have had a blood nose on the evening in question, leaving a path of material containing DNA precisely along the path that the killer (presumably carrying the murder weapon, with the deceased’s blood on it) would have taken to the bathroom.

‘‘Secondly, there were at least two places where the victim’s blood was located at, or very close to, the exact spot where the applicant’s (Wu’s) DNA had previously been deposited. Although not every place on the trail, or in the bathroom, was tested, no DNA of the ‘alternative murderer’ was ever located.

‘‘Thirdly, the applicant claimed to have injured his hand at his place of work some hours before the murder.

‘‘Fourthly, no one else present at the victim’s home before they all went out to dinner saw the applicant with a blood nose.

‘‘Fifthly, the applicant happened to be a person who owned or had access to Prada shoes, the very type of shoe worn by the killer. It goes without saying that this make of men’s shoes are not all that commonly worn.

‘‘Sixthly, he was with the deceased until shortly before his death.

‘‘Seventhly, the applicant had the opportunity to kill the deceased, and no alibi for the time of the murder.

‘‘Eighthly, the applicant had a motive to kill the deceased.’’

Mr Chen, 41, who was born in Inner Mongolia, China, and became an Australian citizen in 1988, was slashed at least 40 times to the head and body with a long, sharp bladed weapon.

There were defensive wounds to Mr Chen's right hand and right and left forearm.

A forensic pathologist observed numerous slash marks across Mr Chen's entire body and face and the back of his skull had been cut open and his brain physically removed.

Bloodied shoe impressions led from the bedroom and top of the stairs towards the front door and the bathroom.

Wu, who was also born in Inner Mongolia, was jailed for 27 years with a non-parole period of 21 years.

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