Luke McAuliffe's family members speak to media outside the Rockhampton courthouse.
Luke McAuliffe's family members speak to media outside the Rockhampton courthouse. Kara Paradies

Relief for family as Rocky pair found guilty of murder

GASPS of horror and joy echoed through the courtroom on Tuesday as a Rockhampton jury sealed the fate of Kerryn Ann Young and Bradley David Hill with a single word - guilty.

The Rockhampton pair have been standing trial in the Supreme Court for the murder of 28-year-old Gladstone man Luke McAuliffe.

Mr McAuliffe, a known methamphetamine addict, was found dead in his parents' home on October 10, 2010.

During the trial, the court heard Hill and Young arranged the delivery of a lethal dose of heroin to Mr McAuliffe, who took it thinking it was meth.

Crown prosecutor Michael Cowan told the court Young and Mr McAuliffe pretended they were in a sexual relationship on October 8, sending text messages to Hill who became enraged with jealousy.

Young, 39, and Hill, 36, were sentenced to life imprisonment after the verdict. A defeated Hill removed his tie and Young burst into tears.

Outside of the courtroom, emotional family members of Mr McAuliffe celebrated the decision.

Mr McAuliffe's father Paul McAuliffe thanked the Queensland Police Service, particularly investigating officer Detective Senior Sergeant Matthew Columbus from the Gladstone CIB.

"He fought all the way," he said.

He also thanked his wife and Luke's mum, Joy, as well as his daughters, son-in-law and granddaughter who "watched over" the family throughout the whole ordeal.

Sister Kylee Pelling said they were "as happy as we could be with the two sentences".

"Luke was the centre of our universe," she said.

"We have heard some terrible things about him during this, but he was a son and a brother and we loved him from the bottom of our hearts.

"He did not deserve what happened to him."

While they know it won't bring Luke back, Kylee said they believed justice had been served.

"The 12 keepers did their job," Paul McAuliffe said.


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