Edward George Thurston leaves court after facing charges at Ipswich on Thursday, May 24.
Edward George Thurston leaves court after facing charges at Ipswich on Thursday, May 24. Ross Irby

Killer cleared of historic assaults

CONVICTED killer Edward George Thurston made amends for his past when he went before an Ipswich Judge on assault charges.

Thurston, 42, has spent the past 16 years in jail after being convicted of the brutal killing of a man in a Tamworth park.

He committed the murder in 2000 when he left Queensland despite being charged with serious assault causing bodily harm to a woman at Dalby.

Thurston was not able to leave NSW until his jail term and parole ended but chose to return to finalise what are now historic charges.

Thurston pleaded guilty in the District Court to assaults causing bodily harm to the woman at Dalby on January 29, 2000; unlawful assault of a male at Dalby on October 17, 1999; and having stolen goods in his possession at Dalby in November 1999.

Crown prosecutor Noel Needham said Thurston's life, at the time aged in his late teens and early 20s, led him to be charged with drink-related offences including vagrancy and being drunk and disorderly.

Mr Needham said he was charged with murder in October 2000 and spent nearly 17 years in jail following an unsuccessful appeal.

"He was unlawfully at large (from Queensland) when he did the murder in NSW," he said.

"And he served beyond his non-parole release."

And Thurston had not appeared at court in May 2000 on the Dalby charges after he apparently skipped town.

One incident at Dalby involved a group of people "in what was going to be a drive-off" that became a confrontation.

Thurston received a Sony PlayStation and portable stereo that had been stolen.

Mr Needham said the most serious charge happened when Thurston was drinking near Myall Creek and approached a woman. When she told him that she had no cigarette or a lighter to give him he threatened her then punched her in the mouth.

The assault damaged her teeth, the pain continuing for many days after.

"He has no memory. His use of alcohol and drugs at the time escalated, led to the very disastrous offences in NSW," Mr Needham said.

The Crown sought for a wholly suspended jail sentence for the dated offences. Mr Needham said Thurston had now "set himself up in a new life" that would hopefully be a fruitful rehabilitation.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said the man now before him was a very different person to who had been back in 1999 and 2000.

"He was a young man using and abusing drugs and alcohol," he said.

Judge Horneman-Wren said Thurston came to Ipswich voluntarily for his case after being released from prison in June 2017.

He was no longer on parole, no longer drinks, and had made a new life in Dubbo.

"The person who sits before you is a very different person than the man he was in 1999," Judge Horneman-Wren said.

Thurston was convicted and sentenced to two months' jail, immediately suspended for six months.

He was convicted only of the two lesser charges.