Man guilty of trying to murder worker

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A MAN who dug a shallow grave to hold the body of a council worker he attempted to kill over a building dispute has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Jonas Black, 46, had created a shed village he named “Jonastown” on his Turtons Creek property when council inspectors Matthew Patterson and Justin Eades came to tell him he needed to tear it down.

Mr Eades, who copped the first savage blow to the head with a metal pipe, had only come along because Mr Patterson feared trouble.

Mr Patterson copped a blow to the head before escaping through blackberry bushes and running for his life.

On arriving at the property, Black warned the council worker: “There’s no way you’re getting out of here alive. The only way you’re getting out of here alive is if you can kill me.”

Mr Patterson told the Supreme Court in Morwell that he knew immediately he was in big trouble.

“I suppose at that point I then thought, ‘well, s**t, this is, you know, very serious’,” he said.

“I do distinctly remember at that time thinking ‘Well, this is how it all ends for Matthew James Patterson’, and I was thinking that could be the end.”

A jury of 12 found Black guilty over the attempted murder of Mr Patterson and his South Gippsland Shire colleague.

Black lured the men to his property following a two-year long dispute over the sheds.

He had received a notice to remove them and wanted to show the council he had complied with the orders.

The court heard Black purchased bags of lime from a local nursery, dug a shallow grave four kilometres from his property and laid out a tarpaulin in the back of his four-wheel drive.

Mr Eades was only spared after his colleague escaped, with Black later washing his wound and attempting to repair the damage he’d done.

Black’s barrister Sarah Leighfield said there was no dispute her client had attacked Mr Patterson and Mr Eades.

But she said he never intended to kill them or even cause them serious injury.

She claimed Black aimed to use the bags of lime to clean toilet pipes.

Crown prosecutor Campbell Thomson said Black had every intention of killing the pair.

“Let’s not pussyfoot and let’s not beat around the bush. This hole couldn’t have been anything else but a potential grave,” he said.

Black will be sentenced at a date to be fixed.

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