Beekeeper murders beekeeper for honey

March 27, 2009 11:11:33 AM PDT
An Australian man was convicted Wednesday of murdering a fellow beekeeper so he could steal 40,000 Australian dollars ($27,880) worth of honey and has been sentenced to life in prison.

A jury with the Brisbane Supreme Court took less than a day to convict Donald Robert Alcock, 34, of the 2007 murder of beekeeper Anthony Ross Knight in Woodford, a rural town in Queensland state.

Prosecutors told the court that Alcock was is desperate financial trouble in May 2007 when he entered the 41-year-old Knight's home, shot him in the back while he was sleeping and stole tubs of his honey to sell.

The jury was told that Alcock loaded the largest tubs of honey onto his truck and drove them to a honey distributor but was pinned under a 3,000-pound (1,400 kilogram) tub while unloading the shipment and had to be taken to the hospital.

Police photographs of the accident scene showed markings on the honey tubs that identified them as Knight's property, prosecutors said.

Knight's decomposing body was found on June 4, 2007.

Alcock - who pleaded not guilty in court - confessed to police that he meant to hurt Knight but not kill him, prosecutors said.

"If Tony was home I was going to have to maim him or hurt him bad if I was going to knock off the honey," Alcock said in a video confession recorded by police. "I thought (the bullet) would go straight through him actually."

Members of the beekeeping industry were in court Wednesday to hear the verdict and show support to Knight's family. They offered statements to the court describing Knight as a highly esteemed beekeeper.

Alcock will be eligible for parole in 15 years.

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