One of two Irishmen accused of murdering a homeless pensioner is ‘not the type of man who gets full of drink and then turns into a murderous psycho,’ a Sydney jury has heard.
Tradesmen Nathan Kelly, 23, and Christopher McLaughlin, 25, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Paul Tavelardis, who died nine days after he was attacked in Grosvenor Crescent, Summer Hill on December 29, 2018.
In her closing address to the Supreme Court on Wednesday barrister Margaret Cunneen SC said McLaughlin acted in self-defence after Mr Tavelardis became ‘a roaring shouting threat with a weapon’.
Tradesmen Christopher McLaughlin (left), 25, and Nathan Kelly (right), 23, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Paul Tavelardis
‘(McLaughlin) is not some angry out-of-control bad-tempered danger to society. That’s just not what happened …he is a quiet man sober and quiet man drunk,’ she said.
Over a 12-day trial various witnesses testified to the extreme level of intoxication experienced by both men after spending all day and evening drinking heavily.
CCTV footage shows the pair splayed out on the concrete floor of a ‘filthy railway underpass’ just before the assault.
Ms Cunneen suggested a ‘blind drunk’ McLaughlin mistook the train station for his bed after taking off his shoes.
Both men say the 66-year-old man had tried to break into McLaughlin’s ute before striking out at Kelly with a metal pipe across his back.
Kelly’s barrister David Campbell SC pointed to the welt recorded on Kelly’s back during his police interview, saying he reacted to the attack set upon him.
CCTV footage shows the pair splayed out on the concrete floor of a ‘filthy railway underpass’ just before the assault
In earlier evidence the court heard how one witness who watched the bashing yelled out for them to stop, to which one of the men responded ‘I don’t care’.
Another witness described the scene akin to ‘boxing’ where one man used both his fists to punch the man in the head while the other kicked him after he fell to the ground.
Mr Tavelardis was alert on arrival at hospital and seen chatting to nurses but didn’t regain consciousness after surgery for bleeding on the brain. His cause of death was multiple blunt force head injuries.
Ms Cuneen said McLaughlin was ‘neutralising the threat until it was no longer a threat’.
‘He was not looking for trouble, trouble came to him.’
Mr Campbell said the events evolved ‘spontaneously’ and Kelly admitted to the police early on he had struck Mr Tavelardis, but that there was no intent for grievous bodily harm.
A key issue of the Crown’s case is whether it has proven the accused men formed specific intent to inflict serious harm or death.
‘Where in this spontaneously evolving sequence of events throughout which Mr Kelly’s focus is on the conduct of Mr Tavelardis was there scope or opportunity in his making any agreement with Mr McLaughlin let alone a murderous one,’ Mr Campbell said.
Mr Campbell questioned why Mr Tavelardis was roaming the darkened Ashfield streets late at night with a pipe in his hand, and pointed to a witness description of him as a man with a ‘burning rage within’.
‘Who said he casually maims people in pubs with his martial arts skills after engineering a situation where he is attacked.’
The trial before Justice Geoffrey Bellew continues.