Cricket bat killing: Aleisha Dawson, accessory to murder paroled

Three days after her husband was jailed for life for beating a friend to death with a cricket bat, the woman who helped him dump the body was released.

Nearly 18 months before 39-year-old John Collins was found guilty of the murder of Brent Andrew Bacon, 45, Aleisha Cherie Dawson admitted being an accessory to the savage killing.

In the High Court at Dunedin, the 32-year-old had been sentenced to jail for two years three months and on March 10 the Parole Board decided she was safe to be released.

Three days earlier, Collins had been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.

Justice Jan-Marie Doogue called the killing “brutal” and said what happened after the murder showed a ”continuing course of callous conduct”.

After bundling Bacon’s body into a sleeping bag, the couple loaded it into the back of the victim’s Toyota vehicle.

There was a swiftly aborted clean-up at the Lock St unit where the attack took place before they fled the scene, leaving behind a snapped cricket bat in a bin bag and blood spray all over the walls, ceiling and furniture.

Dawson and Collins hid Bacon’s body under a low-hanging tree beside a gravel road 30km north of Dunedin, where it was found two weeks later.

The couple were eventually arrested in Rotorua after making their way up the country in the stolen vehicle.

The Parole Board last month heard Dawson had completed a group-based programme and an intensive drug-and-alcohol course while behind bars.

She was staying in the self-care units and had attended reintegration hui with her supporters.

“Ms Dawson has made significant progress on this sentence and she has a solid release plan,” panel convener Neville Trendle said.

She would live in Rotorua while under the spotlight of Corrections, and Trendle was convinced she had strong family support.

Bacon’s sister, Lia Bezett, said she would not be spending time and energy worrying about Dawson’s release, although she said the timing was surprising.

“If they think she’s ready, she’s ready,” she said.

Dawson would be subject to parole conditions until February 2022 but Bezett was convinced the woman would need continuing support.

The conditions included:

• To live at a Rotorua address approved by Probation.
• To disclose to Probation details of any intimate relationship.
• Not to contact the victim’s family.
• Not to contact John Collins.
• Not to possess alcohol or non-prescription drugs.
• To attend any counselling as directed by Probation.
• Not to enter Tauranga, Omokoroa, Cambridge, Christchurch, or Dunedin.
• Trendle stressed Dawson could be forced to submit to a drug or alcohol test at any time.

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