Denpasar (Indonesia) (AFP) – An Australian woman and her British DJ boyfriend were jailed Monday over the killing of a policeman who was beaten to death on a beach on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
Sara Connor and David Taylor were convicted of the fatal group assault of officer Wayan Sudarsa, whose battered body was found in the popular tourist area of Kuta in August.
Connor, 46, was jailed for four years and Taylor, 34, was sentenced to six years.
Traffic policeman Sudarsa’s blood-soaked body was found covered with dozens of wounds on his neck, chest and head.
Taylor, whose stage name is DJ Nutzo, admitted getting into a fight with Sudarsa on the beach after accusing the officer of stealing Connor’s handbag, and hitting him with items including binoculars and a beer bottle.
However Taylor, who had messy dreadlocks when first arrested, claimed that he had been in “fear of his life” and acted in self defence during the late-night brawl, and never intended to kill the officer.
Mother-of-two Connor had maintained her innocence, insisting she only intervened to try to break up the fight, but this was rejected by the judges who said she held down the victim as Taylor beat him.
“The defendant’s actions meant the victim could not get up and move his body to resist,” said I Wayan Sukanila, one of the judges ruling on Connor’s case.
Chief judge Made Pasek handed down the verdict and sentence in the Australian woman’s case, saying she had been “legally and convincingly proven guilty” of group assault causing death.
The verdict in Taylor’s case was handed down at a separate hearing shortly before.
– Row over handbag –
Their sentences were shorter than the eight years each previously recommended by prosecutors, and will be reduced by the seven months they have already served in detention.
Taylor said he accepted the sentence, but prosecutors said they would consider whether to appeal it.
Connor’s lawyer Erwin Siregar said he would suggest to his client that she appeal, telling reporters: “There are some parts of the verdict which do not correspond to the facts.”
The couple had been enjoying a romantic rendezvous on the beach when they realised that Connor’s handbag was missing. Taylor confronted Sudarsa and accused him of stealing the bag, which led to the fight.
They fled the scene but Connor’s driving licence and ATM card were found next to the body. Connor cut up the policeman’s identity cards taken from him during the killing and the couple also burnt the clothes they had been wearing on the night of the attack.
After police launched a massive manhunt for them, they took refuge in the Australian consulate in Bali but soon handed themselves over to local authorities.
Taylor and Connor, who are based in Australia and had been on holiday on Bali, had been accused of murder as well as two lesser charges, including fatal group assault.
But prosecutors said the pair, who were tried separately, should not be convicted of murder, recognising they did not intend to kill the officer.
A murder conviction would have carried a maximum jail term of 15 years.
Bali, a pocket of Hinduism in Muslim-majority Indonesia, is a popular tourist destination known for its tropical climate and palm-fringed beaches.
Minor crime is common but murders are rare.