Man admits to being an accessory to Simone Quinlan murder

Simone Quinlan. Supplied

One of three men charged over the death of Melton mother Simone Quinlan has had a murder charge struck out but pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder.

Dylan Jez, 24, on Monday pleaded guilty to the lesser charge after a magistrate found there was insufficient evidence for him to stand trial for murdering Ms Quinlan, whose burned body was found in a disused mineshaft near Bendigo in September last year.

Police allege the 33-year-old mother of two was murdered on August 25.

Melbourne Magistrates Court heard last week Ms Quinlan was beaten by her boyfriend, Brendan Neil, and then shot in the head with a shotgun by his friend, Wayne Marmo. The exact timing and cause of Ms Quinlan’s death was unclear, the court heard.

Mr Neil, 29, and Mr Marmo, 25, were both last week committed to stand trial. They both pleaded not guilty to murder.

Witness Tracy Storen last week told the court she and Jez were present at the time, but had nothing to do with Ms Quinlan’s death.

Magistrate Ross Maxted on Monday found there was insufficient evidence to commit Jez on the murder charge, but enough for him to stand trial for being an accessory. He then pleaded guilty to the accessory charge.

In a subsequent bail application, Jez’s lawyer, Adam Chernok, said his client should be released from custody as he was prepared to report to police regularly, had stable accommodation and family support and there were measures that could address his risk of flight.

Prosecutor Kevin Doyle opposed the application given the serious nature of the charge and because Jez had a history of failing to appear before authorities.

Mr Chernok said Jez’s stint in custody – more than 10 months – might be considered by a sentencing judge to be enough time in custody for the accessory charge.

Jez’s grandmother was prepared to offer a $150,000 surety, Mr Chernok said, and part of his client’s desire to get bail was to spend time with her given she was unwell.

At that point, one of Ms Quinlan’s supporters called out: “And the victim’s family and children will never see their mother again. F—— bulls—.” He then left the court room.

Mr Maxted ordered a detective to have the man appear before him on Tuesday, when the bail application is due to continue.

The court heard prosecutors might lay a charge of accessory to murder against Mr Marmo and have a jury decide between that and the murder charge.

By Adam Cooper, The Age.