Mum tells of grief over hair salon murder

Margaret Scheikowski
·3-min read

A mother has broken down while describing her grief after her beloved son "gained his angel wings" when he was murdered while getting his hair cut at a Sydney barbershop.

"When a parent dies you lose your past, when a child dies you lose your future," Khalida Toma said at the killer's sentence hearing in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

Despite denying being the disguised assailant, Fredon Laith Botrus, 20, was found guilty in September of murdering Alfredo Isho, 20, in January 2019.

The jury found he was the man wearing a motorcycle helmet who plunged a knife into Mr Isho once while he was seated and gowned at Bossley Park's Classico Hair Studio.

Mr Isho's blood was on the jumper Botrus was wearing when arrested 150 minutes after the stabbing while the white motorcyle said to have been used by the assailant was found at his family home.

Ms Toma said the last time she saw her son alive he told her he was off to get a haircut and would then get them breakfast.

She, her husband and their daughter had fled Iraq for Greece, where Alfredo was born, and the family came to Australia when he was nine months old.

"I came here to feel safe and I don't feel safe," she said.

"Alfredo gained his angel wings and I have been shattered since for all my life."

Some days it was an effort just to breathe and she missed her son every second, she said.

"The longest walk you will ever take is the one down the road of grief."

In his victim impact statement, her husband Zaya Isho said their son had been a very smart young man who had never been in trouble nor said anything bad about anyone.

"I often see items belonging to Alfredo and want to scream out in pain," he said.

He had a promising future but now: "Australia has lost a valuable member of society".

His only sibling Valentina Isho said he had been kind, gentle and selfless and his smile would light up a room.

More than 5000 people came to show their respects when he died and the street had to be closed off, while a funeral was also held for him in Iraq.

The killer's father, Laith Botrus told the court his son had twice been kidnapped in Iraq before the family fled the country for Turkey in 2004 and came to Australia as refugees in 2007

After a close brother killed himself in June 2018, his son had not received any counselling and had stayed in his room for two months.

Prosector Michael Clark described the murder as "brazen, brutal and senseless", noting Botrus had boasted about what he had done.

He had a substance abuse disorder and a criminal history.

His barrister, Sam Pararajasingham said Botrus was only 18 at the time, submitting he had been immature and had used the knife irrationally and impulsively.

The jury was told that before the stabbing Botrus received a message that there was "a dog" in the barbershop.

Using a mix of Arabic, English and emoji the message said in effect: "Yo brother there's a dog at the hairdresser's."

After the stabbing, Botrus was said to have messaged the same account back to say "I went and anked him" and "is that bad".

As well as denying being the motorcyclist, Botrus denied authoring the texts found on his phone sent through encrypted application wickr .

Justice Michael Walton will sentence him on a later date.