Family will remember Damian Leeding as "a true hero"

UPDATE: THE Leeding family said they would remember their fallen detective as "a true hero" after two people were found guilty of his murder on the Gold Coast.

Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding was responding to an armed robbery at the Pacific Pines Tavern on May 29, 2011, when he was shot multiple times in the head at close range.

Phillip Graeme Abell and Donna Lee McAvoy were found guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday of murder.

They had already pleaded guilty to the robbery and seven counts of depriving people of their liberty at the tavern.

The guilty murder verdicts - which came after less than two hours deliberation - sparked cheers, clapping and tears from police and family in the courtroom.

Abell's refusal to stand to accept the verdict sparked another roar from the public gallery.

Det Leeding left behind wife, Sonya, and children, Hudson and Grace.

Father-in-law Garry O'Brien, a paramedic, said he remembered discussing the increasing number of armed robberies on the coast shortly before his son-in-law's death.

"Every day there was something in the paper," he said.

"I said to Damo 'when is this going to stop' and he said 'we're going to get the bastards'.

"Well, we've got the bastards."

Det Leeding's mother Julie Waters said the family was relieved someone was found responsible for his death.

"We are relieved they will no longer be able to hurt anyone else's family the way they have hurt ours," she said.

"Damian was doing his job, his life was taken without regard to him or his family.

"He will be remembered by those who loved him as a true hero."

Assistant Commissioner Paul Wilson said the guilty verdicts were simply another step in the tragedy rather than closure.

He said Det Leeding had "unfortunately, sadly and tragically" paid the supreme sacrifice of being a police officer.

"For we as police officers it is again a reality check as to what police officers do every day in the community," he said.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said it was hard for officers to investigate the death of one of their own.

"In policing, it could be each or any one of us who would have met have met that fate on that Sunday night that Damian did," he said.

Justice James Douglas will sentence the offenders on Friday.

MONDAY: A BRISBANE Supreme Court jury has convicted two people of murdering Detective Damian Leeding after an armed robbery on the Gold Coast.

Phillip Graeme Abell and Donna Lee McAvoy pleaded guilty to the robbery and depriving people at the tavern of their liberty but not guilty to murdering Det Leeding.

Det Leeding was shot while responding to an armed robbery on May 29, 2011.

His life support was turned off two days later.

The jury was told they must set aside any feelings about a policeman dying and his widely publicised hero status as an officer gunned down in the line of duty.

The jury began deliberations about 12.30pm and returned just before 4pm.