Man's best trait led to homicide: family

·3-min read

Andrew Drake survived a terrorist attack and enjoyed many worldly adventures, only for his "best trait" to lead to his stabbing death in a neighbour's shed, his family has told a NSW court.

The adventurous horseman, 29, was stabbed 11 times after going to meet his new neighbours in the NSW south coast town Surfside on April 13, 2019.

"An eagerness to meet new people and an excitement to make new connections - that was Andrew through and through," sister Lucy Wessell said in a statement, read to the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"It's a difficult thing to process knowing Andrew's best character trait led to him being killed."

Mr Drake's killer, Daniel James Sharpe, was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by a NSW Supreme Court jury in February.

The 20-year-old argued the stabbing was borne of a necessity to protect his father.

The trial heard Sharpe and the victim's sister, Penny Drake, were outside the shed when they heard raised voices and returned to find David Sharpe and Mr Drake fighting.

Mr Drake suffered a number of defensive wounds and wounds to his back and neck, dying outside the shed

Six of the wounds were inflicted after the victim stumbled out of the shed.

"I can't help but wonder if he was scared and at what point did he realise he was going to die," Ms Wessell said.

Her brother led horse-riding trips in the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Victorian High Country, danced with a local troupe in Fiji, taught a wary Chinese man to swim in the Mediterranean and sat with fellow travellers in Tel Aviv as rockets exploded overhead.

On a family holiday in Bali in 2005, Mr Drake was thrown across a road by the force of a terrorist's bomb.

The then-15-year-old hailed a taxi to get his shrapnel-hit father to hospital before helping bring in other patients while his father underwent surgery, Ms Wessell said.

"Of all the relics of Andrew's life, the things I treasure the most are the letters from people Andrew met around the world thanking him for his friendship and kindness," she said.

Ms Drake gave evidence at trial that she couldn't recall the stabbing and said on Wednesday said she didn't want to focus on the reason her brother had been killed.

"What reason could there possibly be for what you've done and what you've stolen from our family?" she told Sharpe on Wednesday.

Pointing to a psychological report, prosecutor Kate Radcliffe said Sharpe's perceptions of the initial altercation were clouded by his dysfunctional relationship with his father and his heightened caring and protective role caused by a long-term, untreated mental condition.

But the stabbing remained a "very serious example" of manslaughter, given the offender's "wholly disproportionate" response.

"(That) increased with each stab," she told Justice Geoffrey Bellew.

Defence lawyer Troy Anderson said the most logical conclusion of the jury's verdict was that they found Mr Drake had a knife when Sharpe intervened.

"(Sharpe) wasn't looking for a fight ... our case is it all happened spontaneously, and he was trying to assist his father," the barrister said.

The court was told that while awaiting trial, Sharpe was sentenced to six months' jail for intimidating a woman the morning of Mr Drake's death, illegal gun possession and other offences.

He will have spent 469 days on remand by the time he is sentenced on Friday morning.