HURRY UP, SEND ME TO JAIL: Meth addict axe murderer runs out of patience during sentencing

Headshot of Tim Clarke
Tim ClarkeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Sam Riley’s life was brutally cut short.
Camera IconSam Riley’s life was brutally cut short. Credit: Supplied

A meth addict whose violent life of crime culminated in him murdering a mate with an axe has been jailed for life — still refusing to say why he did it and telling one of WA’s most respected judges to “hurry up” before he was locked up for at least 22 years.

Late last year, Benjamin John Elliott, 33, was found guilty of the brutal, unprovoked killing of Sam Riley at his Busselton home.

WA’s Supreme Court was told Elliott was let into Mr Riley’s Carter Street unit on the night of October 29, 2018, with the intention that they would inject prescription opioids together. Elliott then slept in the spare bed.

But at some stage he got up, carried a small axe to where Mr Riley was lying and launched a sudden and unexpected attack — inflicting 21 “chop-like, deeply incised wounds” to his head.

Injuries to Mr Riley’s left hand showed he tried to shield himself from the blows.

With police hunting the killer in the popular tourist town, they found a Fiskars tomahawk in a canal behind the unit.

Forensic analysis later found Mr Riley’s blood embedded in the tomahawk’s head.

Mr Riley’s mother gave a heartbreaking insight into her grief in a bid to find the killer.

Police interviewed Elliott once and let him go, before DNA results showed Elliott had been in Mr Riley’s apartment.

He was later charged with murder.

During his trial, Elliott bizarrely chose to represent himself — changing his original claim that he had not been in the flat to admitting he had, but leaving with Mr Riley very much alive.

A jury rejected the claim without knowing Elliott’s shocking violent past.

In 2008, he was convicted of being part of a gang who drove a victim to the bush, bound him to a tree and assaulted him.

In 2012, Elliott attacked a prison officer by stabbing him in the head and neck with a fork.

Last year, he was found guilty of a vicious attack on a 77-year-old cyclist near Innaloo, springing from behind a tree before hitting the pensioner with a bottle and kicking him.

In court for Mr Riley’s murder, Justice Stephen Hall asked Elliott if he wanted to say anything before he sentenced him.

Elliott responded with: “Just hurry up.”

Justice Hall said: “By your actions you robbed Sam Riley of his life in a most brutal way and ended his hopes and plans for the future.

“In all likelihood this was a sudden explosion of violence. You have a past history of committing unprovoked acts of violence.

“That tendency may have been exacerbated on this occasion by the use of drugs.

“Based on your history, the risk that you will commit further offences of serious violence must be a real one.”

Elliott is not eligible for parole until April 2042.

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