The family of a young South Australian mother whose body was found buried in a backyard at Mannum in 2015 has told the Supreme Court her killer is a “monster” who deserves to “rot in jail”.
Neil Anthony Archer, 31, confessed late last year to murdering his partner, and mother of their young son, Jody Meyers in August 2015.
The 20-year-old’s body was found underneath a concrete slab in a backyard shed on Archer’s parents’ property about a month after she was reported missing.
Archer’s mother Margaret, 56, was charged over helping him cover up the murder and is in custody awaiting trial.
During sentencing submissions, the court heard victim impact statements from five members of Ms Meyers’ family.
The young mother’s sister Tania Parsons’ hands shook as she held back tears while reading her statement.
“One of our so-called family members murdered another, someone who had eaten at our table, shared our food, special occasions and was part of our lives,” she said.
Ms Meyers’ family last saw her on August 26, 2015 when she left a family gathering with Archer.
Ms Parsons said they had accepted Archer into their family at Jody’s request.
“You looked me in the eye and said you knew nothing, meanwhile you were thinking you had got away with murder,” she said.
“Not only did you take Jody’s life, but you buried her like she was disposable, like a piece of rubbish. How do you ever sleep at night?”
‘I don’t hate anyone on this earth other than him’
Ms Meyers’ brother-in-law Michael Bates described Archer as a “poor excuse for a human” and said nothing could ever undo the pain Archer had caused his family.
“It’s the worst and the most horrible, disgusting, inhumane thing you could do, not just to a family but to your own family and child,” he said.
Michael Bates says nothing could undo the pain Jody Meyers’ family feels. (ABC News: Rebecca Opie)
“He is a monster, there’s no other way to describe it, he’s killed the person he’s meant to love, the person he’s meant to protect the person he told us all he will look after her and he didn’t do that.
“The monster rotting in his jail cell is the closest thing to justice that there is.”
Archer did not make eye contact with the family members as they read their statements to the court, instead he stared at the ground.
Outside court, Mr Bates said it was hard to be in the same room as the man who had killed his sister-in-law.
“I don’t hate anyone on this earth other than him … but we’ve got to go through this to make sure he gets where he is, and where he’s going to be for a long time,” he said.
He said the way Archer and his family had portrayed Jody before the discovery of her body, suggesting that she had ended the relationship and abandoned her son, had caused them further heartache.
“Today was about doing it for Jody. She didn’t deserve this and she was a great person,” he said.
Jody Meyers’ son ‘doesn’t mention his dad now’
The court heard Ms Meyers’ young son was being raised by her mother, Lucyann Saler who said she had been consumed by grief since the loss of her daughter.
“I feel numb, paralysed with grief and pain…I keep picturing Jody and her fight for life,” she said.
“If I could trade places with Jody and take away the fear, pain and terror she suffered that night I would.”
Ms Saler said her grandson talks about his mother, his love for her and “her being up in the stars”.
“He used to say he hates his dad but he has not mentioned him for a while now.”
Archer’s lawyer adjourned further submissions, telling the court he had concerns about his client’s well-being and mental state.