The scene after a body was found in the St Mary's churchyard in July last year. The dead man was 45-year-old Wayne Warren Ruks.
The scene after a body was found in the St Mary's churchyard in July last year. The dead man was 45-year-old Wayne Warren Ruks.

Murder alibi was a 'lie'

THE mother of the man beaten to death in a Maryborough churchyard last year has labelled his attacker’s recent successful defence as a "pack of lies".

A Maryborough Supreme Court jury found Jason Andrew Pearce and Richard John Meerdink not guilty of the murder of her 45-year-old son Wayne Ruks.

The defence had claimed in the trial that Ruks had made homosexual advances to one of the men thereby inciting the vicious attack.They claimed the attacker had been the victim of sexual abuse as a child and therefore the advance had caused an enraged response.

But Joyce Kujala (pictured below) dismissed the suggestion that her son was gay as totally untrue.

"My son was no homosexual," Joyce Kujala said.

"He was no way inclined that way at all. He had a girlfriend. He was not a homosexual.

"He had a drinking problem. He drank a lot because he was a loner."

Speaking from her Caboolture home just hours after hearing the jury’s verdict Ms Kujala said she was disappointed with the verdict even though the jury found both men guilty of manslaughter.

She was informed by telephone after she had left the Maryborough courthouse early on Friday; in the belief a verdict was unlikely until today.

Ms Kujala had sat through two weeks of evidence including an allegation that Wayne Ruks had made a sexual advance toward Pearce.

"He’s not here to defend himself. To have that stigma on his character would have been very upsetting for him.

"I can only think he wanted to have a chat with them out of curiosity.

"He sensed danger but wasn’t quick enough to get away. It was very upsetting."

Ms Kujala said that on her way home she had stopped in Bauple at the block of land where her son planned to build a house.

"It’s the way he died and the way his dream crumbled. All he wanted was to put a home on his land."

In a letter to her son, Ms Kujala revealed, she told Wayne to expect a visit from her about July 20 last year to throw her eye across the site of his prospective new home.

He died on July 3.

"He was a very soft kind of guy. I used to say to him ‘Wayne, you’re too soft for this world’.

"He was very kind, thoughtful and considerate. He was very good to his mother.

"He has left a big void in my life. He was my only son. I’m devastated he’s not around anymore."

Meerdink and Pearce will remain in the Maryborough Correctional Centre until they are dealt with for manslaughter.

A pre-sentence report, including psychological and psychiatric tests, is expected to take six weeks.

The matter will then be mentioned in a Brisbane court before Justice Peter Applegarth and set down for a sentence date.

Read more about the trial...

Guilty of manslaughter
Jury to retire in church murder trial
Judgment day
Jury back to churchyard tape
Jury sees tape of churchyard fight again
Alleged killers' fate known soon
DNA puts accused at murder scene
Trial starts for churchyard murder

Read more about the murder at St Mary's Catholic Church.

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