A man who bashed and kicked a stranger to death at Ravenswood before lighting his corpse on fire in March 2011 will walk free from jail on Tuesday having been granted parole.
Following an argument involving people he was with, Neville Lindsay Whiting went back and stomped on the head of a man who had already been punched to the ground by Whiting’s accomplice Sean Hudson.
Scott Rock died at the scene and the pair set his body alight in a forest.
“For no explicable reason, seeing Sean Hudson punch Scott Rock incited Neville Whiting to step in and inflict the injuries that killed Scott Rock,” Justice Peter Evans said after a trial in the Launceston Supreme Court.
“He had no personal animosity towards Scott Rock or any knowledge of Scott Rock that would justify or explain his actions.”
Hudson was acquitted of murder but was found guilty of assault and being an accessory after the fact, eventually sentenced to seven and a half years’ behind bars.
Whiting sentenced to 20 years’ prison for the killing but the now 42-year-old is being released halfway through his term after good behaviour and being deemed at “low risk of future violence” by the Parole Board of Tasmania, detailing case notes that describe him as a “quiet inmate” who is “polite and takes pride in his work.”
“In addition to his accommodation at the [minimum security] O’Hara units the applicant has been afforded the privilege of undertaking employment in the community and resocialisation leave with his family,” the decision states.
“These opportunities have been positively utilised by the applicant and no concerns have arisen with respect to behaviour during the same.
“Indeed, a reference has been provided by one of the community organisations with which he has worked describing his conduct and performance positively.”
The Parole Board decision also notes Whiting has been clean of illicit substances for his entire stay.
“The applicant has engaged with planning officers at the prison who have assisted him to complete his own relapse prevention plan and offence map.
“Their feedback to the Board was that he demonstrated good engagement during the process and had good strategies to avoid a relapse to alcohol and risky situations in the future.”
Under the parole conditions, Whiting will have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and is barred from any contact with his registered victims.
“The applicant’s crime was senseless.
“It has resulted in the loss of the life and future potential of Mr Rock and ongoing hurt and distress to his loved ones.
“The applicant has, however, demonstrated that he has the intent and the capacity to change and become a compliant and industrious member of the community.
“Given his recognition of the need to not resume drinking alcohol and the capacity to monitor him through electronic monitoring it is the Board’s finding that it is appropriate he be released on parole,” the decision concludes.