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Mother and Son Bury Indigenous Pedestrian After Hit by Car

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An indigenous woman’s body was discovered on Wednesday night concealed in bushland on Jenkins Road in Bees Creek, Northern Territory according to police.

Joshua Gary Mason (23) and his mother, Deborah Karen Mason (50) are likely to plead guilty after the victim’s leg was found on the highway. The mother and son duo appeared in court on Friday on a number of charges, including destroying evidence, misconduct with a corpse and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Joshua is alleged to have fatally hit the female victim with his car on the busy highway on the outskirts of Darwin around 8:30pm on Monday before his mother allegedly assisted him with relocating the woman’s body into the back of a ute and moving it into bushland approximately 15km south of the site of the accident. A court was told the victim was then buried in the bushland outside Darwin.

The dismembered leg was discovered on the Northern Territory’s Stuart Highway on Tuesday morning by a traveller driving on the four-lane highway, in the rural suburb of Coolalinga, which is about 30km south of the city centre. The discovery triggered a police investigation.

Joshua and Deborah Mason were arrested on Wednesday prior to the victim’s body being found partially buried in scrub in Bees Creek.

Peter Maley, a defence lawyer, has said that Joshua would likely plead guilty to the charges, along with the additional charge of ‘hit-and-run’. No application for bail was made and Joshua was remanded in custody.

Former Woolworths employee, Deborah Mason would likely also plead guilty once the facts had been agreed upon, Maley told the court.

Deborah’s bail application heard Joshua Mason called his mother after the accident and she went to the accident scene to assist him.

The mother and son searched for the deceased woman’s body in the darkness with a member of the public who had stopped to help them.

“They couldn’t find anything … but Mr Mason knew he had struck something with his vehicle and was not confident at all that he had not hit a person,” Judge Therese Austin said.

Deborah and Joshua left the site, but allegedly returned later to search again, locating the deceased woman’s body.

“They then took the body, put it in the car, drove off with it and they formed the intention to dispose of the deceased and not call the authorities,” the judge said, “They disposed of the body and then they went home. It’s a very serious incident. They’ve done a very poor job by the sound of it of disposing of any evidence. It was all over the ute. Forensics were not properly cleaned up.”

Jessica McLean, a prosecutor, has said that the ute was driven by Deborah Mason, and it was allegedly found with the deceased person’s blood in its tray even though the pair attempted to hose it out after their crime.

Blood-soaked towels were also allegedly found in the laundry at Deborah Mason’s home which she shares with her daughter.

According to Maley, it had been a tragic accident and there was no suggestion that Joshua had been driving erratically, nor any suggestion that he was responsible for her death.

The Judge revealed that text messages between Deborah and her daughter indicated a potential callous disregard for the woman’s death.

It is a serious offence to attempt to pervert the course of justice and the crown allegedly has a strong case.

The judge ordered that a bail assessment be done before she made her decision.

The victim’s identity has not been released. A forensic pathologist who examined the partial leg on Tuesday determined that the deceased was either a teenager or an adult.

Deborah Mason is scheduled to reappear in Darwin local court on 14th June. Joshua Mason is scheduled to reappear in court on the 27th of July.

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