2 years, 3 months for Turner parents
Sat, 07 Jul 2012 6:03p.m.
By 3 News Europe correspondent Melissa Davies
The parents of Elliot Turner have been sentenced to two years and three months in prison for trying to cover up their son's murder of New Zealand teenager Emily Longley.
Leigh and Anita Turner will have to serve at least half of their sentence before they are released on parole.
The Turners' sentence was reduced because they have another young son.
Leigh Turner stepped outside court for his last cigarette as a free man. Next time he goes outside it will be under the watch of prison guards.
Emily Longley's grandfather said the Turners’ sentencing was the final chapter in a dreadful year.
“A year ago, Mr and Mrs Turner's son murdered my granddaughter Emily – our lovely, shining Emily,” says Ron Longley. “That presented Mr and Mrs Turner with a dreadful dilemma. They made the wrong decision.”
That decision was to destroy a letter Elliot Turner had written confessing to strangling his former girlfriend, 17-year-old Emily Longley.
But in Whakatane, Emily Longley's father Mark says he's comfortable with the 27-month sentence.
“I think it was a just sentence,” says Mark Longley. “It was what we were expecting. We had been given an indication it would be between 18 months and two years. I think there's a difference between justice and fairness, but I think this was a just sentence.”
The judge told the Turners they had shown precious little remorse throughout the trial and it was their fault that Elliot Turner's younger brother will have to go into foster care while the rest of his family are in jail.
“By your actions you have caused another innocent person to suffer,” says Judge Dobbs. “I appreciate the situation you were in was hard, but you broke the law and gave no thought to your younger son when you took that risk.”
Their 16-year-old son was a factor in reducing their sentence though. Leigh and Anita Turner will have to serve just more than a year behind bars before they're released on parole.
“I think justice has been served,” says Mark Longley. “I think in our case we got what we wanted really, and that was three guilty verdicts.”
Anita Turner had tears in her eyes as the sentence was read out, but otherwise they showed very little reaction in the dock.
It's fair to say they expected a prison sentence because they arrived at court with their suitcases packed, and they will leave in a prison van.
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