Men jailed for Maryborough churchyard bashing death

By Andree Withey

May 13 2010

Two men convicted of bashing a man to death in the grounds of a Maryborough Church have been jailed.

Wayne Ruks, 45, died from internal bleeding after he was bashed in the grounds of St Mary’s Catholic Church in Maryborough in July 2008.

Jason Pearce and Richard Meerdink were convicted of his manslaughter.

The court heard Pearce claimed he and Meerdink assaulted Mr. Ruks because he made a homosexual advance towards him.

Justice Peter Applegarth said there was no evidence to support this claim.

He described the assault as a “prolonged and cowardly attack on a drunken individual.”

He told the men they were callous for abandoning Mr. Ruks to his fate after beating him.

Pearce has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Meerdink has been sentenced to ten years.

Mother’s response

Outside court, Mr. Ruks’ mother Joyce Kajala said her son did nothing to deserve the “animalistic” attack.

“I was very close to my son and there was no men or anything like that in his life,” she said.

“He was definitely no homosexual I can assure you of that.

“That was an excuse and that’s why I'm not satisfied with this situation and believing these two men.”