The man accused of murdering a former Comanchero associate has walked free after being found not guilty in a retrial.
Matthew Paul Wiggins, 34, was cleared of the death of Darko Janceski, who was gunned down in front of his parents’ Wollongong home 80km south of Sydney on April 14, 2012.
Witnesses reported a man on a motorbike shot Mr Janceski three times and assaulted his father Slobodan who attempted to intervene.
During Mr Wiggins’ trial, the court was told the shooter wore a full-face helmet, balaclava and dark sunglasses, making it difficult to identify them.
It was alleged Mr Wiggins shot Mr Janceski out of revenge for the suspected killing of his friend, Goran Nikolovski, who disappeared in 2011.
In 2018, Mr Wiggins was sentenced to 24 years in jail after being found guilty of the crime, with a non-parole period of at least 16 years.
He faced a retrial this year, charged with murder and causing grievous bodily harm.
On Friday, a jury found Mr Wiggins not guilty of both counts, allowing him to walk free after being on bail for the duration of the trial.
Defense lawyer David Dalton SC noted during the trial that there were no eyewitnesses or direct evidence to place Mr Wiggins as the gunman.
He also said two months before Mr Janceski was killed another attempt had been made on his life.
On January 29, 2012, Mr Janceski was shot in an apparent attempted assassination.
Mr Dalton told the court in his opening submission that Mr Janceski was removed from the Comancheros prior to his murder and that the group had put a hit out on him.
He also told the jury that Mr Janceski had also used “standover tactics” against other criminals that could have created a motive for others to want him dead.
“That might have created a whole other subset of people who may have wished him harm,” he said.
The court was told Mr Wiggins was never a member of the Comancheros but had been friends with those who were, including former self-appointed national head Mark Buddle.
Originally published as Matthew Wiggins walks free after fresh verdict in Comanchero shooting