A COURT in the Northern Territory has heard that a man was locked in the boot of a car and burned alive in September 2012 after his flatmate discovered that he had stolen one of his beers out of their communal fridge.
Darwin residents Gregory Channing, 41, and Gary Miles, 40, have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Miles’s flatmate Paul John Stamp, 47. They are accused of bashing Stamp before moving him to the boot of a car and setting it alight in an industrial area around Winnellie.
Crown Prosecutor Paul Usher claimed that Channing and Miles had returned to the apartment that Miles shared with Stamp in the early hours of the morning and discovered that one of Miles’s beers were unaccounted for. The duo allegedly woke Stamp up to confront him about the missing beer before beating him into an unconscious state.
The court was told that Channing and Miles had originally intended to drive Stamp to a secluded location and dump his unconscious body to teach him a lesson, however were forced to change their plans after running out of fuel near Winnellie.
Usher said: “The discussed driving into the bush or an industrial area and leaving him there so he could find his own way home. (When the car ran out of fuel) Gary Miles ignited the vehicle with a cigarette lighter causing a raging fire.”
Stamp had moved from Western Australia to the Northern Territory to find work in the mining industry only a week prior to his death. His brother, Craig Stamp, said that the family were “devastated” that his son had been killed only days after moving states and obtaining a job that would allow him to support himself.
Craig Stamp said: “It’s just insane. He just had a big heart and loved everyone. He always tried hard to please everyone. I spoke to him on Saturday, a mate had organised a job for him and found him an apartment. It was a new opportunity for him. The last I heard from him was when he sent me a text on Tuesday for my son’s birthday, and then it happened that night.’’
Channing and Miles were arrested for Stamp’s murder two days after police discovered his remains in the burned out car used to transport his body. One of the men was admitted to Royal Darwin Hospital shortly after their arrestment to treat burns that were allegedly incurred during Stamp’s murder.
Superintendent James O’Brien claimed that Channing and Miles were arrested due to their previous association with the victim and CCTV footage which indicated that they may be involved in the murder.
The trial of Channing and Miles will continue this week.