A gambling addict who bludgeoned his best friend to death after being refused $100, then dismembered his body and disposed of the remains at various locations has been jailed for 22 years, with the judge saying the ghastly crime was difficult to fathom.
David Napier killed 70-year-old Richard Andrews at the victim’s Calista home by bludgeoning the back of his head with a hammer then cutting up his body with a hacksaw, including severing his fingers, and smashing his face with an axe in a bid to prevent identification.
After the murder in August last year, Napier stole $2000 in cash from Mr Andrews’ home, plundered his bank accounts, cleaned the property with bleach and sugar soap, and told neighbours he had gone on a holiday to Albany.
The 53-year-old, who had amassed more than $20,000 in debts and previously borrowed thousands of dollars from Mr Andrews, also forged his signature on a Homeswest form so rent would continue to be paid and renewed his car registration to avoid suspicion.
Napier initially denied the crimes but later confessed to police and led them to Dwellingup State Forest and Gidgegannup where he’d hidden body parts, but some of the remains were never found.
The Supreme Court of WA heard Napier told a psychiatrist he’d read about the severed head that was found on Rottnest Island in 2012 in the Cookson murder case and had watched TV shows like CSI to get ideas about avoiding detection.
Justice Bruno Fiannaca said the way Napier desecrated the body was calculated and ghastly, and described his behaviour as monstrous, callously concealed with an elaborate facade.
“He was always someone who had shown you kindness,” the judge said. “He was your only real friend.
“You denied him dignity in death and you profited.
“To ordinary, decent members of the community, your crimes would defy comprehension.”
Justice Fiannaca said Napier’s horrific acts were a desperate last measure to deal with his financial problems, but he had not been able to explain what was going through his head.
The court heard Napier told police he didn’t know what came over him.
“I am a piece of s***,” he said.
Outside court, defence counsel Patti Chong said the case was tragic and her client had been advised he would receive a hefty jail term.