Life in jail for grisly murder
A MURDER case in the region dating back nearly four years had its final chapter written in the Toowoomba Supreme Court yesterday with a man sentenced to life imprisonment.
Gregory William Shean was convicted of strangling his housemate and former lover – 40-year-old Zoeie Charro Makylev – to death and dumping her body in an orchard at The Summit, south of Warwick, in July 2006.
He had pleaded guilty at a court appearance in Brisbane last week.
Ms Makylev’s badly-decomposed body was discovered three weeks after she was reported missing.
The court was told an argument over the pair’s pending eviction from their Stanthorpe residence led Shean to commit the murder, with both having been engaged in fruit-picking in the district.
Crown prosecutor Paul Alsbury told the court police had been directed to the body by Shean, who had broken down while being interviewed by police at Griffith, where he had gone fruit picking earlier that day.
Shean, aged 36 at the time of the murder, had at one stage been in a relationship with Ms Makylev but had been friends while sharing the residence with backpackers.
He told police during an interview that on the night of the murder – July 26, 2006 – Ms Makylev “went off her face” when she learned they were to be evicted from the house.
He claimed she attacked him with large scissors and that he had disarmed her.
The Supreme Court heard that during the ensuing argument, he twice struck her in the face – prompting Ms Makylev to say she was calling the police – then punched her again causing her to fall to the floor stunned.
He had then retrieved a belt which he wrapped around her neck and choked her for about two minutes.
Putting a plastic bag over her head, Shean placed her body in the boot of his car and drove to an orchard on Tennant Road at The Summit.
In a shocking further twist to his horrible crime, Shean hit his victim twice in the head with a hammer to ensure she was dead, after he thought he heard a noise emanate from her motionless body.
At the time her body was found police had estimated Ms Makylev died about midnight on the night in question.
Shean’s lawyer told the court the killing was not premeditated or planned and his client had panicked.
He said his client had suffered trauma as a child and started drinking alcohol at 13, leading to a problem with alcohol and prescription drugs, and he had spent time in rehabilitation.
Justice Debra Mullins said it was “disappointing” the case had been subject to such a significant delay, the reason for which was not explained to the court.
Her Honour said there was only one sentence she could impose for murder and sentenced Shean to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 15 years, but declared a total 1161 days pre-sentence custody as time already served under the sentence.
Shean was committed for trial after appearing in the Warwick Magistrates Court on July 4, 2007.
The sentencing comes as Hervey Bay man Bowan Taylor Wade awaits his next Warwick court appearance after being charged with the murder of his former girlfriend, 17-year-old Sal Callow, in August last year.
The pair had been doing orchard work in Stanthorpe prior to breaking up.
Sal’s body was found in a storage facility near town, with initial investigations suggesting she was strangled.
Wade remains in custody and will face a committal hearing in the Warwick Magistrates Court on April 22, to determine if he should be committed to stand trial in a higher court.
He has not yet been required to enter a plea.
(Additional reporting by The Chronicle)