WARREN PURTILL, the elder brother of the man accused of killing Byron Bay businessman John ‘Jack’ Garda, was jailed on fraud offences using the dead man’s credit cards just days after his murder.
Purtill, 46, of no fixed address, was accused by Homicide Squad officers of going on a spending spree in Queensland and Northern NSW spending hundreds of dollars on new clothes, alcohol and surfboard using Mr Garda’s stolen cards.
He also had Mr Garda’s Mac book laptop computer.
Purtill pleaded guilty in Lismore Local Court on February 19 before magistrate Nicholas Reimer to eight counts of fraud by deception, and one charge of larceny, between February 9 and February 16 at Lennox Head, Byron Bay, Ballina and Brunswick Heads.
He was sentenced to six months’ jail for the offences but has now lodged a severity appeal to be heard before Lismore District Court in April.
Magistrate Reimer ordered him to pay $2705.82 compensation to National Australia Bank – the bank which had issued Mr Garda’s credit cards.
With the discovery of Mr Garda’s body in a shallow grave on Saturday, February 27, near Broadwater, Purtill was subsequently charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder, appearing briefly in Lismore Local Court to face that charge on March 2.
His brother Kevin Purtill, 38, of Lennox Head, appeared in custody before Lismore Local Court on March 1 charged with the murder of Mr Garda at Lennox Head on February 8. With no details given that matter was adjourned.
In Warren Purtill’s fraud matters police facts state he told Homicide Squad officers investigating the disappearance of Mr Garda that he found a small sports bag in Lennox Head at 10.30pm on February 8 containing the Mac book and six credit cards in the name of John Garda.
Police accused him of attempting unsuccessfully that night to use one of the cards to withdraw $500 from a Lennox Head ATM
On February 12 Purtill used Mr Garda’s stolen Visa card to buy a $750 surfboard at Byron Bay at 3.52pm; at 6.41pm in Ballina to buy $170.20 worth of alcohol; and at 6.53pm in Ballina to buy $60 worth ofpetrol.
On Sunday, February 14, at 10.53am he spent $258.97 at Target in Ballina to buy towels and household items; an hour later he paid $94.09 for petrol; and at 4.48pm spent $96.60 on alcohol.
At 1.54pm on February 15, Purtill spent $533.43 on clothes from a shop near Brisbane Airport. On February 16 he uses the card to spend $215.88 on clothes at City Beach in Broadbeach.
After buying a steak and T-shirt, at the Hogs Breath cafe in Byron, and a $236 gold chain, he was arrested.