Oaklands shooter 'guilty'

PLEA: Corey Dean Beagley has pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the Helen Preedy shooting, but has denied a third. He will be sentenced in Sydney in March.
PLEA: Corey Dean Beagley has pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the Helen Preedy shooting, but has denied a third. He will be sentenced in Sydney in March.

An Oaklands man has finally admitted to shooting a woman as she went for an evening walk almost six years ago.

Just days ago Corey Dean Beagley pleaded not guilty to four charges as his trial got under way in the District Court in Albury.

That was over allegations he shot Helen Preedy, then 61, in Oaklands on December 28, 2011, firing at her from his back fence.

A jury was empanelled and the following day Judge Jeffreys gave directions to members on evidence, but then the Crown sought leave to hand-up a fresh indictment.

That was accepted by the court and Beagley ultimately pleaded guilty to firing a firearm with disregard to the safety of other persons and that he caused, by an unlawful act, grievous bodily harm to Ms Preedy. He will be sentenced in Sydney on March 2, after the completion of a pre-sentence report.

“The offender stated it was possible that he had used the firearm after returning to his residence on the evening of December 28, 2011, but could not remember due to his level of intoxication,” Judge Clive Jeffreys was told.

Beagley has maintained his innocence on a more serious charge of recklessly cause grievous bodily harm to Ms Preedy.

A charge of using a prohibited weapon, that is a .22 calibre firearm, without a licence or permit was withdrawn.

Beagley’s case had been due to go to a committal hearing in Albury Local Court on August 29, 2013, then he was committed to stand trial in the District Court in Albury in October of the same year.

One year ago, magistrate Michael Crompton adjourned the case, again in the Local Court, to the District Court in Sydney, at the Downing Centre.

A new set of agreed facts have outlined how Beagley, now 36, went to the Oaklands Hotel on the afternoon of the offence for a harvest cut-off Christmas party with work colleagues.

Beagley had a few drinks and then left about 6.30pm to go to his parents’ home in Buller Street, where he prepared himself dinner. He then contacted his wife, who was working at the Oaklands RSL Bowling Club.

She picked him up and took him to his Nixon Street home.

INVESTIGATION: Police and emergency services search near the Oaklands grain silos two weeks after Helen Preedy was shot by Corey Dean Beagley.

INVESTIGATION: Police and emergency services search near the Oaklands grain silos two weeks after Helen Preedy was shot by Corey Dean Beagley.

It was about 7.30pm when Ms Preedy left her home to go for a walk after finishing dinner with her husband.

While heading south on Kilpatrick Street, about 20 metres east of the Nixon Street intersection, “the victim felt pain to her neck and started bleeding”. This was about 100 metres from Beagley’s home.

Ms Preedy sought help from nearby residents, who called an ambulance that took her to Corowa hospital. She was transferred to Albury hospital the following day.

Treatment revealed the bullet had entered the left side of the neck and exited the right. Surgery was not required, though she continues to suffer from swelling under her chin and a partial loss of movement in her tongue.

When police searched Beagley’s home on New Year’s Eve they found a .22 calibre firearm, fitted with a silencer, in the roof cavity.

After he returned home they found three spent .22 bullet casings in his yard.