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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Sadistic rapist who tricked a man into digging his own grave before strangling him to death in a brutal murder that remained a mystery for 25 years is jailed

  • Graham Thomas Sales, 56, confessed to a 25-year-old murder and is now in jail
  • Central coast man Ronald Penn, 61, vanished from The Entrance in October, 1995
  • A month later, Sales' girlfriend Jennifer Forgacs was shot in Wyong Local Court
  • Sales admitted he solicited his brother to shoot her after threatening his life
  • Ms Forgacs survived the shooting but Mr Penn's body has never been found
  • Sales is already behind bars for the sadistic rape and torture of women and kids
A sadistic rapist who strangled a man after tricking him into digging his own grave has finally been jailed more than 20 years later.
Graham Thomas Sales, 56, admitted to murdering Ronald Richard Penn, 61, in October 1995 more than 20 years after the case went cold.
He also confessed to convincing his brother Ross Sales to gun down his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Forgacs, 24, with a shotgun in a courthouse weeks later.
Sales is already serving decades in prison for raping and torturing six women and four children between 1988 and 2014.
NSW Supreme Court Justice Peter Garling added another eight years to his sentence on Wednesday for killing Mr Penn and soliciting the young woman's murder.
He will not be eligible for parole until 2052 when he will be 81 years old and his sentence will not expire until six years later.
Graham Thomas Sales, 56, was jailed for killing Ronald Penn, 61,  and soliciting the murder of his girlfriend 25 years ago
Graham Thomas Sales, 56, was jailed for killing Ronald Penn, 61,  and soliciting the murder of his girlfriend 25 years ago
Mr Penn was last seen on October 27, 1995, at Sydney's Downing Centre Court over a traffic offence and his body still hasn't been found.
His presumed death remained a mystery until 2014 when Ross Sales told investigators what actually happened.
Ross was later convicted of being an accessory after the fact in Mr Penn's murder.
At the time, Sales was under arrest on the vast array of sex crimes but did not confess to the 1995 crimes until 2018 and formally pleaded guilty in May this year.
Sales said he murdered the former railway worker - who had loosely become his driver because he did not have a licence - in The Entrance North between October 23 and October 28.
He and Ross then ditched Mr Penn's white Mazda van in two car parks in the hope it would be stolen, before torching it in bushland in Berkeley Vale.
Sales lured Mr Penn to secluded bushland by telling him there was money buried there and if he helped dig it up he could share it.
Once the hole was dug, Sales whacked him in the leg from behind with a baseball bat, breaking the weapon and knocking Mr Penn to the ground.
He then used the broken bat to strangle the victim, stripped him naked, and dumped him in the grave before covering it.
On the way home from the murder, Sales told his brother that if he didn't murder Ms Forgacs for him, he would kill him.
Sales and Ms Forgacs had been in a relationship for about four years before she ran away to a woman's refuge on September 10, 1995.
Ms Forgacs told police about domestic abuse she was subjected to and was granted a restraining order against him.
Ronald Penn, 61, (pictured) has never been found after vanishing from the Central Coast in October 1995
Ronald Penn, 61, (pictured) has never been found after vanishing from the Central Coast in October 1995
Sales broke the restraining order by following her in his car twice and was summoned to appear in court on November 21.
One of these was days before Mr Penn vanished when he was pulled over in his car seated alongside Sales and his brother in Charlestown, near Newcastle. 
Police alleged at the time they were following Ms Forgacs who had finally summoned the courage to flee his violence and had escaped to a refuge.
Detectives believe Sales tracked her down there a few days later and unsuccessfully tried to abduct her.
Ms Forgacs was being transferred by car to another refuge in the Hunter Valley when the three men were pulled over near Newcastle, following close behind.
Police believe Mr Penn was murdered to prevent him from being subpoenaed to give evidence against Sales breaking the restraining order.
He told his brother under threat of death that he was to shoot Ms Forgacs dead with a sawn-off shotgun, then tell police he was insane.
Ross laid the groundwork for this scheme by telling Aboriginal Health Centre workers he was having homicidal thoughts about a female.
He walked into Wyong Local Court with the gun in a backpack and took it out next to a vending machine, loading it with three pellet shells and a solid round.
He followed Ms Forgacs into a courtroom where he shot her once, hitting her in the left hand and wrist, chest, right shoulder, and face.
Ross was immediately arrested while his victim was rushed to hospital and survived after a series of operations.
Ross fooled police and two psychiatrists into believing he was mentally ill and hearing voices and having delusions during his assessments.
He was found not guilty due to insanity and locked up in a psychiatric hospital.  
Strike Force Rankmore detectives take cadaver dogs to a bushland area where Ronald Penn's burnt out vehicle was found during a search in 2014
Strike Force Rankmore detectives take cadaver dogs to a bushland area where Ronald Penn's burnt out vehicle was found during a search in 2014
Sales remained a free man until he was arrested in 2017 and later convicted of 44 hideous crimes against six ex-girlfriends and one of their children.
They including raping women with household objects, forcing them to eat their dinner off the floor, and hogtying them and putting them face down in the bath.
For these crimes, committed between 1988 and 2014, he was jailed for 36 year with a non-parole period of 27 years.
The sentencing judge 'found that the offender showed a prolonged, consistent cycle of serious violence, intimidation and control in his intimate relationships, and had little prospect of rehabilitation'.
In 2018, he was jailed for another 12 years after after pleading guilty to six counts of sexual and aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, common assault.
He was also convicted of two counts of threatening the officer in charge of the investgation during a fiery outburst in the witness box during the trial.
These crimes were committed against 12 and 13-year-old girls and an underage boy, and the sentence put his earlier release date in 2045. 

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