14 May 2018

Man jailed for manslaughter of NZ-born mother

4:24 pm on 14 May 2018

An Australian man has been sentenced to more than 11 years in jail for the death of his New Zealand-born mother in Australia nearly nine years ago.

Linda Sidon

Linda Sidon Photo: AAP

Linda Sidon, 46, disappeared in Australia in June 2009, but was not reported missing for another 18 months when her New Zealand-based father raised the alarm.

Police initially suspected she had taken her own life, because she suffered from several medical conditions, including depression.

Her son, Daniel Heazlewood, was arrested in 2015 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter last week.

In the Supreme Court in Brisbane today, he was sentenced to 11 and a half years in jail - eight of those for manslaughter, 18 months for interfering with a corpse and the rest for drugs charges.

He will be eligible for parole in July next year.

Ms Sidon's remains have never been found.

Accused confessed to police

The court was shown part of Heazlewood's 2015 police interview, in which he confessed to killing his mother.

He told officers Ms Sidon came into his bedroom with a knife in her hand and was yelling at him angrily.

"I grabbed her wrist … and then we struggled - somehow we fell," he told detectives.

"I had my forearm around her neck … we were struggling."

Heazlewood said his mother stopped moving after a short period of time so he put her in bed and checked on her two days later and realised she was dead.

He told police he went to a hardware store and bought a shovel and a bag of lime like he had seen in the movies and drove the body to the Gold Coast hinterland.

"I wrapped her in a blanket - put her in the boot of her car," he said.

"I went into the bush a bit and dug a hole."

'Dry retching and vomiting'

Heazlewood said he was "dry retching and vomiting" and could not carry his mother so he dragged her into the hole where he buried her with lime.

Prosecutor Vicki Loury QC said before he confessed to police he "maintained deception" for six years that his mother was in New Zealand and had not shown any remorse.

"He [Heazlewood] joked with friends that if his mother came back he was going to kill her," Ms Loury told the court.

She said he told friends that he hated his mother who "was a waste of space" and an "ugly bitch".

The prosecution said Heazlewood was an active gym goer at the time and was using steroids.

Ms Sidon's older sister Pauline Sidon read a victim impact statement to the court and described her sister as "beautiful and charismatic".

"Her future had a chance to be bright - she was robbed of future happiness," she said.

"How someone can live with that lie for six years is beyond my comprehension."

Police search for Ms Sidon's body

Heazlewood took police to the hinterland on two occasions but was unable to locate the position where he disposed of her body.

The court heard he had not intended to kill his mother, which is why the Crown accepted the plea of manslaughter.

Heazlewood's defence barrister said he had a difficult background and a "highly dysfunctional" relationship with his mother.

In sentencing, Justice Boddice said Heazlewood's conduct after his mother's death was "reprehensible" and he left her in her room not caring if she was dead or alive.

"It seems to me you held a genuine hatred for your mother," Justice Boddice said.

Due to time already served in custody since 2015, Heazlewood will be eligible to apply for parole in July 2019.

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