Clarke brothers guilty again of WA murder

The body of Peter John Davis was found in the boot of his car at the back of a motel.
The body of Peter John Davis was found in the boot of his car at the back of a motel.

Two brothers who claimed they were framed for murder by a gang of Estonian men have been found guilty for a second time of killing a Perth business associate over a perceived debt of about $300,000.

Ambrose John Clarke, 54, and Xavier Gerard Clarke, 52, faced a lengthy re-trial in the West Australian Supreme Court charged with murdering 51-year-old Peter Davis.

The jury heard Ambrose Clarke had started a franchise of Mr Davis' business but in 2009 the relationship soured and Clarke believed he was owed about $300,000.

After intimidation and failed attempts to recover the money through an unlicensed debt collector, Mr Davis was lured to a Malaga address in May 2011 under the guise of giving a business quote and killed, prosecutor Paul Usher said.

Mr Davis' body was found in the boot of his vehicle at the Great Eastern Motor Lodge the next day.

Mr Usher said the father of four was assaulted and suffered a "fatal cardiac event".

But Xavier Clarke's defence counsel Jonathan Davies claimed his client did not know Mr Davis, whose heart was "like a bomb waiting to go off".

Mr Davies blamed the assault on an Estonian gang, who were kickboxing and martial arts champions known for violence and intimidation.

He said the "standover men", who had previously casually worked for Ambrose Clarke, had their own financial reason to confront Mr Davis.

Ambrose Clarke's defence counsel Shane Brennan said "innocent secondary DNA transfer" explained much of the evidence against his client.

Mr Brennan said if Ambrose Clarke was the killer he would be "the dopiest murderer that ever lived" to put incriminating items, including a page from Mr Davis' diary, in his unlocked filing cabinet.

He said the items were planted to frame Ambrose Clarke.

After a trial that lasted almost four months, the jury began deliberating on Tuesday morning and returned guilty verdicts on Wednesday afternoon.

Family members gasped and wept when they were handed down.

It was a retrial for the brothers, who were previously convicted of Mr Davis' murder in December 2013.

They were each sentenced at that time to life behind bars with a minimum of 18 years to be served.

But in November 2016, they appealed their sentences and presented new evidence to the court.

In February 2018, their appeals were successful and they were subsequently granted bail ahead of their retrial.

The pair are now back behind bars and will face a sentencing hearing on September 6.

Australian Associated Press