Alleged killer penned rap lyrics about Bradley Lyons death: court

One of three men accused of the vigilante execution of a dad who they suspected was a paedophile later allegedly wrote rap lyrics referencing the murder, a court has heard.

Bradley Lyons, 30, was found buried in a shallow grave off a dirt track in eastern Victoria more than three months after his brother had raised fears about the missing man with police.

He was found face down and bound with tape and clothing garments, with a shotgun slug in the back of his head.

Three men accused of his murder, Jordan Bottom, 24, Rikki Smith, 25 and Albert Thorn, 57, are facing trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

On Wednesday, crown prosecutor Raymond Gibson KC read extracts of rap lyrics allegedly penned by Mr Smith and found by his mother. Mr Gibson claimed they were a “reference” to Mr Lyons’ murder.

“I got murder on my mind, see blood in my sight, murdering the mic, someone’s dying tonight,” he allegedly wrote in a diary.

“Anyone doing wrong by the innocent – It’s f**ked – they protect the pedofiles (sic), the system is corrupt.

“Brothers locked up but nobody will speak. Lips forever shut, you can’t buy loyalty.”

Earlier, the jury heard the attack on Mr Lyons began after he finished work on December 2, 2018 when four men, including Mr Smith and Mr Thorn, stormed the Lakes Entrance home he shared with his wife Jana Hooper and seven children.

He was allegedly beaten, tied up and threatened with a gun.

The court heard that at about 2pm, Mr Thorn bundled him into the boot of Mr Thorn’s mum’s Toyota Corolla and drove to Mr Thorn’s property in Nyerimilang – about 10 minutes away.

At the rural property he was left in the boot of the car for several hours.

The jury heard Mr Thorn has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and false imprisonment, while he and Mr Smith have admitted to intentionally injuring Mr Lyons at his Lakes Entrance home.

The three accused men deny they are responsible for what the prosecution alleges happened next.

Mr Gibson said later the same evening that Mr Lyons was allegedly tied to a metal massage table and assaulted in an effort to get him to confess to molesting kids.

Mr Gibson told the jury the police’s investigation had later found no evidence corroborating rumours Mr Lyons had abused children.

The three men are accused of then taking Mr Lyons to a dirt track near Double Bridges in Victoria’s Gippsland region where he was executed and buried.

“This was nothing short of vigilante action,” he said.

“People taking the law into their own hands and dishing out vigilante justice.”

Mr Gibson told the jury the prosecution’s case was that the three accused men were complicit and participated voluntarily in the execution of Mr Lyons.

He said police allegedly uncovered Mr Lyons’ body in March the following year after Mr Bottom agreed to take them to the grave.

Also on Wednesday, lawyers acting for the three men briefly outlined their responses to the alleged series of events.

Acting for Mr Bottom, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, assault and false imprisonment, barrister David Cronin told the jury his client admitted he was there when Mr Lyons was killed.

“He was there, he didn’t shoot him and didn’t know what was going to happen,” he said.

“He didn’t know it was going to go that far …. What is in dispute is what Jordan Bottom did and why.”

Mr Smith’s barrister, John Saunders, said his client admits he was present at the time but denies he had the intention to kill or seriously injure Mr Lyons.

“What he effectively says is I was involved in some of the events surrounding the death but I didn’t murder him,” he told the jury.

“This may shock you but it doesn’t prove he killed Mr Lyons.”

Both barristers pointed the finger at Albert Thorn for allegedly firing the fatal shot.

But James Anderson, Mr Thorn’s barrister, said his client denied being present when Mr Lyons died.

“Albert Thorn is a kidnapper but he is not a murderer,” he said.

He told the court his client had admitted to assaulting and kidnapping Mr Lyons, but said he remained at his home when Mr Bottom, Mr Smith and Mr Lyons left.

“The prosecution have labelled him a vigilante, that’s true to a point. Albert Thorn saw a terrible situation and was driven to act,” Mr Anderson said.

“Bradley Lyons left the property alive in the boot of the Corolla.”

The trial, presided over by Justice Andrew Tinney, continues.

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