Procedural glitch results in jury recall for Beutel case

A man is led around by police at a house on Horseshoe Bend at Buderim after a lady was found in a burnt out car off Sippy Creek Road.
A man is led around by police at a house on Horseshoe Bend at Buderim after a lady was found in a burnt out car off Sippy Creek Road. Cade Mooney

A PROCEDURAL glitch has resulted in a jury recall to confirm a guilty verdict in the murder case against a Sunshine Coast man who torched his partner's car after placing her lifeless body in the boot.

After more than a day deliberating, a jury filed into Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon and declared Wayn Edward Raymond McClutchie, 38, guilty of murdering former Toowoomba woman Noelene Beutel, 35, during a violent confrontation at their Buderim home.

Crown prosecutor David Meredith submitted one previous burglary offence on McClutchie's criminal history and told the court there was only one possible sentence - life imprisonment.

Just as defence barrister Greg McGuire began speaking, Justice Ann Lyon's associate realised she did not ask "so says your speaker, so say you all?" after the jury delivered its verdict.

Court staff spent about 40 minutes trying to get discharged jury members back before the court to confirm the verdict was unanimous but not everyone had mobile phones.

The bailiff told the court he asked whether it was unanimous when he received the verdict but Justice Lyons has asked jurors to return on Wednesday morning to deliver their verdict again and allow the sentencing to continue.

She said there was no basis for a mistrial but most murders were ending up before the Queensland Court of Appeal so she suspected McClutchie's defence team could add this oversight to the list of grounds.

Justice Lyone apologised to McClutchie for the procedural delay.

McClutchie had already pleaded guilty to interfering with Ms Beutel's corpse on June 29, 2011 - admitting he used a wheelie bin to drag her body to her car and that he set fire to it in bushland at Tanawha.

But he had pleaded not guilty to murder because he claimed he did not intend to kill her when he delivered a 10/10 punch during one of many domestic disputes between the pair.

Ms Beutel had left McClutchie two days before she died with plans to return to family at Toowoomba.

She had told friends McClutchie had threatened to kill her and her daughter in the lead up to her death.

Topics:  buderim murder trial noelene beutel wayn edward raymond mcclutchie

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