Man found guilty of bookie's 1989 murder

Margaret Scheikowski
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TERRY HICKSON COURT

Terry Hickson murdered wealthy bookmaker Charles Skarratt in his Sydney garage 30 years ago

Three decades after a wealthy bookmaker was gagged, bound, bashed, stabbed and robbed in his Sydney garage, a self-described petty thief has been found guilty of his murder.

Terry John Gordon Hickson's blood was found on the bookie's sock with a prosecutor describing that evidence as "most damning and powerful".

Also damning was the testimony of Hickson's then-girlfriend who said he admitted stabbing a bookie during a botched robbery, saying he put the knife in him, "twisted it and he was likely dead".

Hickson, aged 30 at the time and now 60, pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to murdering Charles Skarratt, 72.

The successful bookie was attacked and robbed of about $25,000 in the garage of his Woolwich home in December 1989 after returning from the Dapto greyhound races

He died from stab wounds to his chest and multiple blunt injuries.

After two days of deliberations, the jury on Thursday returned a guilty verdict.

Mr Skarratt's children, Vicki, Peter and Julie, later said while they were relieved and appreciative of the verdict, they would not be celebrating.

"The way our father's life ended is so incredibly sad," they said in a statement.

"Now is the time for healing. Not only for our family, but also for those who have had to carry this burden thrust upon them so long ago.

"Words cannot express our gratitude to everyone who so bravely came forward to testify. You are incredible and in our hearts."

Hickson's ex-girlfriend, Tania Morsman, made her first police statement in 2017, telling the jury: "I no longer have a fear of Terry Hickson".

She said her then-boyfriend told her he was looking at a bookmaker and was going to rob him "because he needed money to pay for his barrister".

"He would stalk the bookmaker on a Thursday evening and that happened at least a month or two before the robbery and murder.

"He would go to the races and follow him home."

Ms Morsman said Hickson left her Wollongong home after dinner on the night of the murder with a bag containing gear he would use in the robbery.

"There was a balaclava, there was a pair of overalls and he had a knife in the bag as well," she said.

He returned after midnight wearing the overalls which he gave her to wash,.

"There was a lot of blood coming out of the overalls when I was washing them," Ms Morsman said.

"He said there was a struggle because the man was rather a big man and he struggled with him and put up a fight."

Hickson's blood was found on the bookie's sock and car boot.

But he denied attacking him, telling the jury he must have cut himself when he broke into a number of car boots, including Mr Skarratt's, at the Dapto races.

His barrister Philip Young SC contended the bookie could have touched the wet blood on his boot which could have been transferred onto his sock while at the races.

Prosecutor Craig Everson submitted it was far more likely Hickson's blood got onto the sock when the bookie was being attacked, tied up and gagged in his garage before being stabbed.

Justice David Davies listed his sentence hearing for February 28.