A final "crunching" blow inflicted by a murderer on his Sydney neighbour will cost at least 14 years in prison.
Stellios Maletsas, 30, was sentenced in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday to a maximum term of 19 years for killing Marcus Campbell shortly before 9pm on September 13, 2020.
A jury had rejected his plea of manslaughter and found he either intended to murder his neighbour or cause him grievous bodily harm.
Justice Des Fagan described the vicious assault on the older man who was 57 at the time as a brutal and merciless attack, but could not find beyond reasonable doubt that Maletsas intended to kill him.
The two men lived across from each other in a housing commission in Erskineville, and were known to verbally abuse one another.
Campbell was an alcoholic who lived in the unit for seven years and often shouted at passersby, played loud music, and intimidated residents including Maletsas' girlfriend, according to the facts deemed by the judge.
"The deceased made himself a pest in the public housing complex, disturbed harmony and caused others to feel insulted," Justice Fagan said.
"But nothing in the deceased's irritating behaviour could explain or mitigate (Maletsas') actions."
Following a shopping trip to Marrickville that evening Maletsas and his partner were walking home when Campbell yelled something.
Maletsas turned to his girlfriend and said "I'm going to find out what his problem is," before retrieving a 1.5 metre pole and banging it loudly for his neighbour to come out of his house.
"Come down you black c***, or dog," he yelled.
Campbell appeared in his doorway holding a wooden broom handle, which he never used on the aggressor who strode across the lawn.
Maletsas threw him on the concrete path, straddled and punched him several times in the face before raising his head and smashing it back down on the hard surface.
While the injured man "may well have been unconscious the whole time," Maletsas then retrieved the pole and heavily struck it down on his head at least once.
A bystander recorded this fatal blow, which caused fractures and haemorrhages to both sides of the brain and skull.
"Piece of s*** you will never ever talk to my woman again c*** or I will f***ing murder you," Maletsas was heard saying.
Crown prosecutor Karl Prince submitted the judge should find he intended to kill the man, also pointing to his police interview after his arrest the following morning.
"I've no mercy, no pity for that, no way," Maletsas said.
"No remorse after what he's done to my partner after how he's treated me, he has no respect for the community."
Mr Prince said punching a defenceless man on the ground was cowardly and callous, and his weapon showed his determination to kill.
"Without being too graphic you can hear that crunching sound that blow made."
But defence barrister Troy Edwards said the short unplanned attack, which lasted 30 seconds, was only meant to teach the man a lesson.
"Didn't mean to hurt him that bad," he said in his police interview.
Mr Edwards pointed to his diagnosis of complex post traumatic stress disorder following a volatile childhood where he experienced violence from a young age and combined with his heavy drug abuse from a young age, as mitigating factors.
His prospects of rehabilitation were dependent on his medical treatment for his psychiatric and substance abuse, the judge found.
He will first be eligible for parole on December 13, 2034.
Australian Associated Press
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