Notorious bush bandits Gino and Mark Stocco jailed for 40 years

Gino Stocco (left) after his arrest. Photo: David Moir.
Mark Stocco (right) at Dubbo police station after his arrest. Photo: Channel Nine
Gino Stocco (left) after his arrest. Photo: David Moir. Mark Stocco (right) at Dubbo police station after his arrest. Photo: Channel Nine

They cultivated a reputation as modern-day bushrangers - living off the grid, carrying out moonlight raids and evading capture for years.

But any "such-is-life" bravdo was no where to be seen when the notorious Stoccos were sentenced to a maximum of 40 years' jail for a raft of offences, including murdering a farm caretaker.

The father and son fugitives, who led police on a wild interstate chase before their dramatic arrest on a rural property, did not appear to react when the sentence was delivered in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

Gino Stocco, 59, will be eligible for parole in 2043, while his son and partner in crime Mark Stocco, 37, will remain behind bars until at least 2045.

After eight years on the run, the Stoccos were arrested hiding out at a rural property, called Pinevale, at Elong Elong in Dunedoo in the state's central west on October 28, 2015.

The manhunt for the duo had ramped up 12 days earlier when they fired shots at police from a high power military-style rifle during a high-speed chase near Wagga Wagga.

The chase was sparked when the Stoccos, who by that time had already appeared on the television show Australia's Most Wanted, were detected driving a stolen car with stolen registration plates.

With the subsequent police hunt capturing national media attention, the Stoccos returned to Pinevale, a remote plot, lured by the knowledge there was food in a freezer.

Mark and Gino Stocco

Mark and Gino Stocco

It was only after the Stoccos were captured that police found the badly decomposed body of farm caretaker Rosario Cimone, 68, in scrubland on Pinevale.

The pair had worked for a short time at Pinevale, which was being used to cultivate marijuana, as farmhands.

The older Stocco shot Mr Cimone twice in the stomach on October 7 before the pair stole the boots off his feet and $50 from his pocket, stripped him naked and hid the body under leaves and branches.

The court has heard that the Stoccos' probable motivation for killing Mr Cimone was frustration and anger that they might be evicted from the property.

The Stoccos in a photograph released by police.

The Stoccos in a photograph released by police.

"Just shoot him," the younger Stocco told his father after handing him a loaded pump action shot gun.

Several of Mr Cirmone's family members were in court and wept throughout the sentence.

"The killing was cold blooded, callous and without rational justification albeit it it was not planned," Justice David Davies said delivering his sentence.

The court heard that the pair had lived an itinerant life since the early 2000s - living on a yacht and taking up various jobs on farm properties across the country - after Gino's relationship with his wife fell apart.

Before then Mark had completed his Higher School Certificate, was in a relationship and had studied civil engineering for three years at James Cook University.

Gino, too, had a seemingly normal childhood, running a number of businesses and working as a successful bricklayer, electrician and carpenter.

The court heard that a doctor who assessed the pair believed their appearance on Australia's Most Wanted - when their crimes to that time had consisted of relatively low level property offences - had been a "significant turning point" and had "heightened their anti-authorian stance".

The Stoccos pleaded guilty last year to murder, destroying a farmer's shed and belongings by fire in 2014, and two counts of shooting to evade arrest.

smh.com.au

This story Notorious bush bandits Gino and Mark Stocco jailed for 40 years first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.