‘Take some responsibility’, judge tells road-rage killer
A driver who stabbed a man in the front and back after a minor car collision says he is "less morally culpable" than other murderers and should serve less than 20 years' jail.
On Thursday, Benjamin Joshua George apologised for killing Troy James McLean, calling it a "spur of the moment" act at the end of a long, personal "downward spiral".
His counsel said the Supreme Court should show mercy because of their client's dysfunctional and abusive childhood, as well as his addiction to illicit drugs.
They said he was "less morally culpable" than other murderers because of his mental health issues - a submission Justice David Lovell said was hard to accept.
He pointed to records that, in the lead-up to the murder, George had been offered safe accommodation, hospitalisation and medical help - only to refuse it all.
"The reality is, after the most minor of taps to your client's car, he got out and attacked a defenceless man who had really done nothing," he said.
"He then chased and continued to attack Mr McLean, departed the scene without rendering assistance and, after, made extremely aggressive comments (about him).
"Somewhere in all of this, there has to be some responsibility taken for managing one's own mental health … people tried to help him, but he didn't engage."
George, 26, of Elizabeth East, pleaded guilty - one week before his trial - to murdering Mr McLean, who died from wounds inflicted at Waterloo Cnr Rd, Salisbury in 2017.
Affected by drugs, a lack of sleep and a decline in his mental health, George said "I warned you" after the stabbing, and then drove away.
On Thursday, the court was read a victim impact statement written by Mr McLean's 11-year-old son, Cai.
"I'm angry all the time that someone would do this … you took someone very special from me," he wrote.
"I wish you go to jail forever for what you have done … I don't understand why you did what you did, and I hate you."
The court also heard a statement written by Mr McLean's mother, Vicki, who died from cancer following her son's murder.
"My precious son would have been in unbelievable pain and suffering as he tried to drive himself to hospital to get help, because you drove off," she wrote.
"Like a coward, you left him to bleed to death at the traffic lights … I believe (my cancer) was a direct result of the grief, stress and heartache you have caused."
George read a letter of apology to the court, saying he "could never ask for forgiveness" and promising to "never again harm another man, touch drugs or commit another crime".
He said he had "turned a new page" in his life and was "a better man" - but interrupted prosecutors when they dubbed his post-stabbing comment "aggressive and callous".
"It was said out of anger, not callousness - it was anger," he yelled from the dock.
Justice Lovell will sentence George in two weeks.