A man accused of murdering a former Comanchero associate has walked free after being found not guilty at a retrial.
Matthew Paul Wiggins, 34, was acquitted in the death of Darko Jancheska, who was shot dead outside his parents’ home in Wollongong, 80km south of Sydney, on April 14, 2012.
Witnesses report that a man on a motorcycle shot three times at Mr. Jancheski and attacked his father, Slobodan, who tried to intervene.
During Mr Wiggins’ trial, the court was told the gunman was wearing a helmet that covered his face, a balaclava and dark sunglasses, making it difficult to identify him.
Mr Wiggins is believed to have shot Mr Janceski in revenge for the alleged murder of his friend Goran Nikolovski, who disappeared in 2011.
In 2018, Mr Wiggins was sentenced to 24 years in prison after being found guilty of the offence, with a non-parole period of at least 16 years.
This year, he was tried again, accused of murder and grievous bodily harm.
A jury found Mr Wiggins not guilty on both counts on Friday, allowing him to walk free after being held on bail throughout the trial.
Barrister David Dalton SC pointed out during the trial that there were no eyewitnesses or direct evidence that Mr Wiggins was the gunman.
He also said that two months before the murder of Mr. Jancheski, another attempt was made on his life.
On January 29, 2012, Jancheski was shot and killed in an apparent assassination attempt.
Mr Dalton told the court in his opening statement that Mr Jancheski had been removed from Comancheros before the killing and that the group had set him up.
He also told jurors that Mr Janceski had also used “standing tactics” against other criminals, which could have created a motive for others to want him dead.
“It could have created a whole different group of people who wished him harm,” he said.
The court was told Mr Wiggins was never a member of the Comancheros but was friends with those who were, including former self-appointed head of state Mark Buddle.
Originally published as Matthew Wiggins walks free after new sentence in Comancher shooting