Cop killer avoids extra jail time over drug charges

By Edward Gay

John Ward Skinner during a 2010 court appearance. File photo / APN
John Ward Skinner during a 2010 court appearance. File photo / APN

The man serving a life sentence for murdering an undercover police officer will not serve extra time for his drug offending.

John Ward Skinner was under investigation by police for his methamphetamine manufacturing when he caught two undercover police officers trying to put a tracking device on his car in 2008.

Skinner and his co-accused Lindsay Clegg saw them on a security camera and chased them more than 100m down the street with a high-powered air rifle.

He shot the pair in the street and one of the officers - Sergeant Don Wilkinson - died.

Skinner was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole of 15 years for the murder of Mr Wilkinson. He will not be eligible for parole until 2023.

Clegg was convicted of manslaughter.

Today in court, Crown prosecutor Scott McColgan said even if the drug offending been joined with the murder charge, there would have been no increase in the sentence.

As well his convictions for murder, attempted murder and assault with a firearm, Skinner now has convictions for possessing chemicals, materials and equipment for making methamphetamine.

Judge David Harvey said he could not increase Skinner's sentence because he was already serving life in prison for murder.

He sentenced Skinner to three years in prison to be served at the same time as his sentence for murder.

Skinner had previously been granted name suppression to protect his fair trial rights, but lost it after earlier pleading guilty to the drugs charges.

- APNZ

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