Murder victim loved, missed

Date13 March 2021
Published date13 March 2021
After John Collins was found guilty of murdering Brent Bacon, he bustled downstairs from the courtroom, refusing to look his betrayal in the face.

In the space of just an hour, the jury had time for lunch and to reach a unanimous verdict.

The victim's sister, Lia Bezett — someone who had fed him and offered him work — had positioned herself in Collins' eye-line, her glare boring into him, willing him to glance her way.

''People would always say I looked like my brother. I hated looking like my brother,'' she said.

''The first time in my life I was happy to look like him was in that courtroom when I could face John and haunt him with my similarities.''

On February 4, 2019, Mr Bacon had visited his friends Collins (39) and Aleisha Dawson (32) at the couple's Lock St unit in St Clair.

Several hours later, the pair were driving north in the victim's Toyota people mover before they dumped his battered corpse under a kanuka tree on a gravel road a couple of kilometres off the main highway.

Collins admitted he had beaten Mr Bacon to death with a cricket bat, later found snapped in two inside a rubbish bag in the kitchen of the address.

His claim that he was defending himself against a paranoid scissor-wielding assailant were rubbished by the Crown and quickly dismissed by the jury.

The man

Murders always make headlines, but Ms Bezett knew the case would not be one that gripped the nation.

''This whole case could get painted as three druggies who lost their s... but actually he was better than that,'' she said.

''He wasn't bad.

''He still had a job, he still had a relationship, he was still a dad. It speaks volumes for Brent as a person.''

Ms Bezett spoke to the Otago Daily Times to set the record straight on her brother.

Sharp, funny, pragmatic and with an iron will, Mr Bacon is lucky to have her in his corner.

''I feel like I've got to protect my brother. I've got to honour this dude,'' she said.

''He'd be doing the same for me. And you'd know about it.''

The siblings had lived the archetypal Kiwi childhood.

Their parents had split when they were young — a broken home, ''but there was nothing broken about it'', Ms Bezett said.

Living in Mt Maunganui. Mr Bacon developed a love of the ocean, a sense of freedom that did not always gel with being confined to the classroom.

The surfing culture, however, brought him into contact with cannabis.

While the defence tried to paint Mr Bacon as a split personality, supposedly angry and unpredictable while on drugs, Ms Bezett...

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