Lies of a killer: ‘Remorseless murderer learns fate
A REMORSELESS and despicable killer, Daniel Andrew Novley sat silently, staring at the ground as the jury read out the guilty verdict in the Sturt Lodge murder case.
Novley had built a "litany of lies" to try to get away with the brutal killing of Rodney Ferrar, a man who had been trying to turn his life around.
A stint in a Townsville rehab after fleeing Mount Isa, running from drugs and alcohol with his partner Candice Butler, he was taking steps to better himself.
His mother told the Townsville Bulletin outside court that he had finished rehab when he checked into the lodge.
"He went to rehab to straighten himself out and he just was doing well," she said.
His time in rehab was for nought though, when he fatefully crossed paths with Novley at the Sturt Lodge in Townsville's CBD. Mr Ferrar and Ms Butler were renting a private room at the lodge just across the hall from the man who would take his life.
As alcohol mixed with anger in the halls of the budget hostel on August 2, a series of physical altercations broke out between Mr Ferrar and his killers in the lead up to his death.
Novley and his friend Richard Swan were mixing Jägermeister and Red Bull.
The pair had finished most of two bottles when Novley instructed Swan to use his hat to obscure the view of the security camera in the moments before the murder.
Footage taken from this camera shows the fluorescently lit hallway of level four at Sturt Lodge.
The camera captures a shirtless Novley walking past and blowing a kiss at the camera.
About 20 seconds later the footage is cut off.
While the camera was obscured Novley grabbed a wooden bed slat and beat Mr Ferrar to death.
The force required to cause the injuries the 30-year-old suffered was the same as is seen in car crashes, Crown prosecutor Nigel Rees said.
Less than five minutes later the camera captures the moment police arrived at the scene.
In that time, Novley killed Mr Ferrar, poured bleach over the murder weapon as well as himself and had begun concocting a sordid alibi to throw off police.
As police declared a crime scene he began spreading his lies. First he said he had been "doing the dirty" with his boyfriend Swan, claiming the man now co-accused in the brutal killing, had been giving him oral sex just before police arrived.
Then he told police Mr Ferrar's partner, Ms Butler violently kneed him in the face that afternoon - a story not corroborated by any other witness.
Swan vehemently denies ever having an intimate relationship with Novley. A jury found him guilty of manslaughter last year.
Swan sat in the witness box and testified against Novley during the trial, telling the jury he saw Novley scrubbing blood from his hands and a wooden plank shortly after Novley suggested they "finish the job" after the fight earlier in the day.
In a shocking twist during cross examination Swan admitted he lied to the court and that he had not witnessed the killing, only the aftermath.
Defence barrister Joseph Briggs revealed that Swan, who was sentenced to nine years' jail, was handed a discounted sentence with the proviso he gave evidence against Novley.
In a highly unusual move, Novley gave evidence at his own trial and claimed to the court that he was only trying to wake up Mr Ferrar when he hit him three times with the plank of wood.
"I figured it would have been enough to wake him up, maybe leave a bruise," Novley said. Novley showed no emotion as graphic images of Mr Ferrar's naked body slumped in a pool of his own blood were shown to the jury.
In handing down her sentence for murder, Chief Justice Catherine Holmes told Novley he was "entirely remorseless".
"You murdered a man who was both harmless and defenceless.
"He had done nothing to hurt you," she said.
"You killed him despicably as he lay in his bed and had no chance of offering any resistance.
"You set about telling a litany of lies to the police and it seems you remain remorseless."
Justice Holmes sentenced Novley to life in prison and declared 1560 days he has spent in jail since the night of the murder as time already served.
He will be eligible for parole in 2036.
"The jury in my view has come to an entirely proper and appropriate verdict - not that it matters what my view is," she said.
"You seem to have been lighthearted about it and you are certainly entirely remorseless."
Originally published as Lies of a killer: 'Remorseless' Sturt Lodge murderer learns fate