Pair jailed after drug robbery turns fatal

·2-min read

Tomas Cugurno-Pfabe and Benjamin Nagy snorted cocaine in a car before robbing a physically vulnerable drug dealer and killing him with a rubber mallet.

Cugurno-Pfabe, 27, broke into Bradley Crawford's caravan and fatally struck the 43-year-old in the head with the mallet while Nagy, 25, held his throat at Scoresby, in Melbourne's east, in September 2019.

The pair, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, on Monday faced the Victorian Supreme Court.

Justice Mandy Fox sentenced Nagy to a total of eight years in prison while Cugurno-Pfabe was sentenced to a total of seven years and six months.

Nagy, who received a longer sentence due to his prior criminal history, must serve at least five years before being eligible for parole while Cugurno-Pfabe must serve four years and six months.

"Your offending was committed in the victim's own home, where he was entitled to feel safe," Justice Fox said.

"He literally had nowhere to go."

The attack was not "overly savage", she added, with the injuries inflicted not normally resulting in death.

Meanwhile, the pair did not leave Mr Crawford for dead and they could not have known he had breathing difficulties.

But Justice Fox said Nagy and Cugurno-Pfabe did not retreat when the father-of-three tried to defend himself, instead following through with the planned robbery, in which they took one ounce of cocaine and two ounces of methamphetamine.

Cugurno-Pfabe earlier said while the robbery was driven by his drug addiction, he took full responsibility for his actions.

The cabinet-maker also said he was now drug-free for the first time since he was a teenager and vowed to be a "better man" when released from prison.

"I killed Bradley Crawford - I would like to accept and acknowledge my actions ended the life of another person," Cugurno-Pfabe told the court.

"The weight of my actions has left a family broken. Every day I'm alive I will think about the people I hurt and the lives impacted - both the Crawford family and my own.

"I am sorry."

Mr Crawford's ex-partner, Jenny Crawford, said their 13-year-old son needed his father now more than ever.

"I just don't understand how anyone can do this and live with themselves," Ms Crawford said in a statement.

"The impact is significant and forever."

Cugurno-Pfabe and Nagy were originally charged with murder and armed robbery but these charges were dropped after they pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Murder and armed robbery charges were also dropped against two others involved in the incident - Jake Oldis and Denaye Whitfield.

They pleaded guilty to robbery and were sentenced to time already served alongside 18-month community correction orders.

Whitfield spent 54 days in custody and admitted robbery on the basis she disclosed the location of Mr Crawford's drug stash.

Oldis' involvement was limited to him being the getaway driver. He spent 104 days in custody.

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