A MAN who broke into a Halls Head apartment and murdered a resident after a five-day methylamphetamine bender has been jailed for life.
Damian Eric Maxfield (40) admitted stabbing 40-year-old Scott Martin as he slept and attacking his partner Erelle Mason (32) in January last year.
Maxfield was sentenced on Friday and will spend at least 20 years in prison. He was made eligible for parole.
Maxfield had been a long-term meth user and had also drank alcohol and gone to the casino before getting into the secure apartment building.
Prosecutor Laura Christian said Maxfield launched “an unprovoked attack on a complete stranger while he was asleep”, then used various objects to hit Ms Mason, inflicting serious injuries.
He choked her twice as she fought back and she started to lose consciousness more than once, Ms Christian said.
She ran out of the unit and Maxfield tried to coax her back inside.
As Mr Martin lay dying, Maxfield took a laptop computer and left by climbing down from the 10th-floor balcony to the level below.
Defence counsel Paul Yovich submitted his client had acted irrationally as he had an underlying delusional disorder – believing the Russian mafia was coming after him – and that was exacerbated by his heavy drug use.
Mr Yovich also said Maxfield had no memory whatsoever of what happened and was genuinely remorseful.
But Ms Christian read out a personal phone conversation Maxfield had in jail in which he said: “I don’t know if I should say I don’t remember much or just spill the beans”.
She urged Justice Michael Corboy to reject psychiatric diagnoses of Maxfield having some sort of underlying disorder, saying “his condition at the time was entirely drug-induced”.
Justice Corboy asked Ms Christian if he should view the crimes as “a horrific, violent act with no explanation, without motive”.
She agreed although Maxfield had become obsessed with the belief his guitar was in the apartment.