A one-time anti-Islamic State fighter who helped with the “cruel and hideous cover-up” of a drug dealer’s murder is set to be released from jail.
Ashley Mitchell Scott Dyball has been handed a three-year jail sentence for improperly interfering with the corpse of Samuel Thompson.
But Dyball will be released immediately because he has already spent three-and-a-half years in custody.
A jury handed down the guilty verdict on Tuesday, while finding Dyball not guilty of Mr Thompson’s murder.
Brisbane Supreme Court Justice Martin Burns sentenced the 28-year-old on Wednesday to three years in jail for helping to conceal a “most serious crime” committed by another dealer Roberto Boscaino.
Mr Thompson’s decomposed body was found in a shallow grave next to a tomahawk in Beerburrum State Forest, north of Brisbane, more than three weeks after he was killed on March 7, 2017.
While Mr Thompson was missing his family appealed for anyone with information about the disappearance to come forward.
“He (Dyball) put the family through hell and he did that knowingly,” Justice Burns said in sentencing Dyball.
Justice Burns said he could only imagine the anguish of Mr Thompson’s family.
“That would only have been compounded when they learned much later that his body had been subject to the indignities that you and Mr Boscaino visited upon it,” he added.
The trial heard Mr Thompson died either from a deep facial wound inflicted by a tomahawk or from being strangled.
Boscaino was sentenced to life in prison in December after being found guilty in a separate trial of murdering Mr Thompson. He pleaded guilty to a charge of interfering with a corpse, along with drug and weapons offences.
Barrister Angus Edwards said Dyball – who fought with Kurdish forces against Islamic State in Syria in 2015 – had admitted “his behaviour that day was disgusting”
Dyball pleaded guilty to an additional charge of possessing a “minute quantity of cocaine” during court proceedings on Wednesday.
The white powder was found in his possession when police executed a search warrant at his house in March 2017.