NSW man jailed over 'body in board bag'

Mark Dower's body was found stuffed in a surfboard bag in Wollongong.
Mark Dower's body was found stuffed in a surfboard bag in Wollongong.

Mark Dower was his daughter's hero but in 2015 his life was brutally cut short when repeatedly beaten and eventually left to die before his body was stuffed in a surfboard bag to rot.

Mr Dower's attacker, Mark Kenneth Jenkin, will now spend at least 14 years in prison for the 56-year-old pensioner's manslaughter.

Jenkin was found guilty in June 2018 of violently assaulting Mr Dower at least twice in the week before he died in March 2015, leaving him with injuries that substantially contributed to his demise.

He was also convicted of conspiring to murder a witness who saw Mr Dower's "mottled and blackened" body slumped in the bathtub of his home.

NSW Supreme Court Justice Peter Hamill on Thursday jailed Jenkin, 47, for 19 years with a non-parole period of 14 years.

The court heard a vulnerable Mr Dower was taken to Jenkin's housing commission unit in Mangerton against his will and subjected to a series of cruel and brutal assaults.

Justice Hamill said Jenkin had both a short and violent temper. His assaults left Mr Dower with fractured ribs, a dislodged tooth, fractures to his lumbar spine and subdural bleeding.

Distressing video footage on Jenkin's phone of him calling his victim a "dirty f***ing rat" and saying "I'm gonna kill him" painted a traumatic picture of Mr Dower's last days.

"I am satisfied the offender was cruel, degrading and violent towards Mr Dower and that he suffered considerably in his final days," Justice Hamill said.

Despite Mr Dower being desperately in need of medical attention, Jenkin did nothing to help him and when he later died from his injuries, he left his body to rot in his bathtub for a number of days.

In a final act of indignity, he then stuffed Mr Dower's remains into a surfboard bag, dropped him out of a second-storey window and stowed him in a shared laundry unit.

Mr Dower left behind a daughter who provided the court with a victim impact statement.

"She described her father as her hero and wishes she could spend just one more day with him," Justice Hamill said.

"She is lost in her pain and endless grief and wrote about the hundreds of times since her father's death that she has needed his advice but could not get it."

The court also heard details of Jenkin's ill-formulated plan to have the witness who saw Mr Dower's body in his unit murdered.

The amateur plot was uncovered in a series of intercepted phone calls between Jenkin - who was in custody - and his stepbrother during which he instructed his relative to give the woman a hotshot of heroin so "she's really not breathing when she f***in' leaves".

Justice Hamill said while the stepbrother was a "rather hapless, would-be assassin" the gravity of what he had been asked to do was not diminished.

The court heard Jenkin had spent just six of the past 26 years a free man. He will not be eligible for release until January 2030.

Australian Associated Press