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Family's pain over losing two sons to knife violence

A Melbourne family was only six months into grieving the murder of their son when his older brother was stabbed to death.

The family had fled war-torn South Sudan to move to Australia, believing it would be a "safe haven".

Kon Kot, 24, died in December 2020 after being stabbed four times by his friend James Makir, including the fatal blow that pierced his heart, in a fight at a Hungry Jack's car park in Melbourne's west.

His young brother Machar Kot, 21, was murdered in June that year by Marco Deng, in another incident of knife violence.

Only a few months after reading out statements to the Supreme Court over Machar's death, the Kot family attended another hearing on Thursday where they remembered "loyal, loving and caring" Kon.

"It had only been six months since we lost my brother Machar. I don't think I'd even begun my grieving process," sister Anhail Kot said in a statement read to court.

The family called several hospitals as they held on to a "glimmer of hope" that Kon could still be alive after hearing about the fight, she said.

"I can't put into words how broken I am that he is no longer here with us," she said.

"The single actions of this person have tortured me in many ways. I just hope that through all of this we can get some justice for my brother.

"He didn't deserve this. My family didn't deserve this."

Their father Antipas Kot said the family had tried to escape violence in South Sudan by moving to Australia on humanitarian visas more than 20 years ago.

"We thought Australia was a safe haven for us," Mr Kot said in a statement.

"The death of my two sons has devastated my family here and back home. His death shall remain a tragedy."

Makir, 26, sat in the court dock for the pre-sentence hearing, after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter for stabbing Kon outside the Caroline Springs fast food outlet. He is facing up to 25 years in prison.

Kon drove with friends to the Hungry Jack's on the evening of December 21 after receiving a call from his brother Mabior, who was then aged 15, believing Makir was trying to "staunch" his brother, prosecutor Neill Hutton said.

A brawl ensued involving up to six men. Kon punched Makir, who then swung a knife at Kon and stabbed him four times, including a 20cm fatal wound to his chest.

Kon fell to the ground and said "the dog got me". He was later pronounced dead by paramedics.

Makir, who denies bringing a knife to the fight, fled the scene with his friends and the weapon has never been found.

He was initially charged with murder but later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

His barrister John Desmond said Makir acted spontaneously in what was an "evolving, dynamic situation" and had no plans to kill Kon that evening.

He said Makir, who has a violent criminal history, struggled with drug issues and experienced violence and racism throughout his life.

Justice Amanda Fox reserved her decision and said she would sentence Makir at a later date.

In December, the same judge sentenced Deng to a maximum of 19 years in prison for Machar's murder.