Judge pillories brothers for malicious mauling of Murtoa family home
Brothers who destroyed their late mother's home to stop their sister inheriting funds have been fined $10,000 each - on top of paying their sister compensation.
A judge released footage of Malcolm and Garry Taylor's gleefully destroying part of their mother's home to stop their sister from inheriting a cent and in retaliation for her being named executor.
The brothers, now aged 57 and 59, travelled from their Queensland home to Murtoa, near Horsham, in March 2019, just days before the property was due to go to auction.
It had previously sold for $99,000, but the sale fell through after the house suffered water damage and was to be auctioned with an expected price up to $75,000.
On the eve of the auction, the men hired an excavator and filmed themselves tearing down a part of the home.
When someone called the police, the brothers told the local officer they were doing "renovations".
Malcolm Taylor sent their sister a text saying "renovations have begun" while later that night at a footy match at the MCG Garry Taylor posted to social media that they were having a "few beers at the footy after a hard day's renovating".
Malcolm Taylor had earlier taken a hot water service, telling a real estate agent he didn't want his sister to profit from any sale and that he'd continue taking things until there was nothing left.
County Court Judge Michael Cahill told them on Friday:
"You were laughing while you destroyed your, and your sister's, inheritance. Now the world is laughing at you for your stupidity."
The brothers were each fined $10,000 after admitting charges of theft and criminal damage.
During a pre-sentence hearing the court heard Malcolm Taylor was genuinely remorseful for his actions that day.
But ahead of the sentencing prosecutors tried to squash that argument, pointing Judge Cahill to a media report in which Malcolm Taylor replied "absolutely not" when asked by a reporter if he regretted his actions.
Lawyer Mike Anderson, appearing with both men by video link from Hervey Bay, said they had been harassed by the media over the incident:
"If Your Honour had any worry about the concept of deterrent, the media have done that.
"There's no way these men will ever offend again."
It was estimated the total loss to the estate was around $60,000 - a $20,000 loss each.
The brothers agreed in May 2019 to pay their sister a "reasonable" amount to compensate her for her lost inheritance.
They had tried to challenge their sister's appointment as executor of their mother's estate, because of her failure to pay legacies to their children.
Judge Cahill said they had agreed to co-operate with her after it was ordered the woman would remain as executor after paying what was owed.