THE man who covered up the brutal murder of Danielle Easey and dumped her body in Cockle Creek could be released from jail in early 2024 as Ms Easey's mother labelled him a "disgusting and evil person" who threw her daughter away "like she was rubbish".
Justin Kent Dilosa, now 37, was on Monday jailed for a maximum of six years, with a non-parole period of four years after he pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to Ms Easey's murder at the hands of his ex-partner, Carol Marie McHenry.
Justice Deborah Sweeney backdated the sentence to Dilosa's arrest in September, 2019, meaning he was eligible for parole more than two months ago. But the NSW State Parole Authority said late on Monday that Dilosa would not be considered for release until late January, 2024.
The sentence came as a shock to members of Ms Easey's family in the public gallery of the Sydney courtroom, with some calling out "we know you did it" and "an eye for an eye, you dog".
Earlier, Ms Easey's mother, Jennifer Collier, had read an emotional victim impact statement, attempting to put into words the pain Dilosa had caused all who knew Ms Easey.
"When you were told by Carol of the savage attack on Danielle, did you turn the car around to render first aid?" Ms Collier asked. "Did you call the police or an ambulance? No. You did none of those things. You did nothing at all. You drove to your friend's house, destroyed evidence, and took drugs while my baby, my child lay either dying or dead. You didn't care one bit. You then wrapped her body and kept her in your car like she was nothing. She was something. She was someone special. Not only to me, but to everyone who knew her. And you threw her away like she was rubbish. You disgusting, evil person."
Dilosa was in August found not guilty of murdering Ms Easey after his second trial in NSW Supreme Court, the jury left with some doubt that he was directly involved in the killing and present in the bedroom in Reeves Street, Narara on August 17, 2019, when McHenry repeatedly stabbed and struck Ms Easey in the head with a hammer.
McHenry, Dilosa's ex-partner, was last year found guilty of murdering Ms Easey and defrauding her mother, while the jury in that trial remained deadlocked over Dilosa's involvement in the brutal killing.
McHenry was in July jailed for a maximum of 22 years and six months, with a non-parole period of 15 years and six months, making her first eligible for parole in 2035.
And despite the weight of evidence that he was involved after the killing, the prosecution case against him being present in the bedroom during Ms Easey's murder was a purely circumstantial one.
There was no direct evidence linking him to the murder. No CCTV, no DNA, no eyewitness.
But on the night she died, Dilosa admitted to burning his beloved pig-hunting knife in a backyard bonfire at Cardiff before he later returned to the house at Narara.
There he wrapped up Ms Easey's body and drove it around in a "makeshift coffin" for several days before dumping it in Cockle Creek not far from Wakefield Road at Killingworth.
Dilosa claimed he did all this not because he was responsible, but because he wanted to protect the real killer, McHenry.
And he also repeatedly confessed to a number of associates in the drug world, telling almost anyone who would listen that he "took responsibility".
"You know that chick, she was no good," Dilosa said, according to one associate. "I had to kill her. She was going to hurt my friends and I'd do it again."
He told another associate that "everything was fine until the crack ran out".
"She started to lose it," Dilosa said, according to the associate. "She was saying she was gonna bring everyone down. Then it happened. I stabbed her in the head and in the back."
But Dilosa said he had either never made those "admissions" and if he had they were uttered only to take the rap for McHenry, who he said he did not want to see separated from her children.
The jury's not guilty verdict meant they must have accepted his version about falling asleep in his van, which he gave during his first murder trial in late 2022, and found that when he was confessing to the killing he was doing so in a "bizarre" and "ludicrous" drug-addled attempt to protect McHenry.
Justice Sweeney on Monday accepted Dilosa was motivated by a "misguided loyalty" to McHenry.
But she said the way he dealt with Ms Easey's body was "callous" and his acts in attempting to help McHenry escape justice further exacerbated Ms Easey's family's heartache and anxiety. Justice Sweeney said Dilosa's actions on the night of the murder were "spontaneous" but in the following days there was some planning involved in the cover up.
As well as Ms Collier, Ms Easey's father, Colin Easey, and her sister, Jessica Douglas, also read emotive victim impact statements on Monday.
"You disposed of my sister's body like she was garbage," Ms Douglas said. "How dare you treat her so disgracefully. You have no regard for human life and I can't comprehend it. "You have shown us what true evil really is. I hope that every time you close your eyes, you are haunted by Danielle's face and what you've done. But I don't think that'll be the case because I don't believe that you feel any remorse. You're only sorry you were caught. I hope you rot and I hope you never ever have a moment of peace."
After hearing from Ms Easey's family and before he was sentenced, Dilosa chose to read a prepared letter in an attempt to show that he was remorseful.
"This is the letter to express how sincerely remorseful I am for my actions and involvement in the events that took place after Danielle's death," Dilosa read. "I am truly sorry for the pain and distress, mentally and emotionally, that I've caused all involved. "First and most importantly, to Danielle's family and friends, my thoughtless and insensitive actions did not allow the proper authorities the opportunity to return Danielle's body to her family as early as possible. I'm sorry that I did not treat Danielle's body with the respect that she deserved. My actions were inconsiderate, unforgivable, and wrong. Danielle deserved better. I'm sorry. I wish there was something I could do to make Danielle's family and friends feel better, but I know there is not. All I've wanted them to know is the truth about what happened, and to know how truly sorry I am for my actions and how regretful I am for making them feel the way they do because of my actions. There is no excuse at all."
Dilosa's non-parole period expired on September 18, four years after he was arrested and refused bail, but he was not automatically released on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the NSW State Parole Authority told the Newcastle Herald while Dilosa was eligible for parole, it would not be considered until late January, 2024.
"The authority must determine whether releasing this offender on supervised parole is appropriate and be satisfied that doing so, is in the interest of community safety," the spokeswoman said. "As part of its parole consideration process, the authority will require a comprehensive pre-release report from Community Corrections."