Sydney tradie guilty of cul-de-sac murder

·2-min read

A murder trial jury has dismissed a Sydney tradie's claim that his fatal stabbing of a friend in a cul-de-sac could have been in self-defence.

Following a week of deliberations, the NSW Supreme Court jury on Tuesday found Nathan Chatimba guilty of murdering Peni "Ben" Apikotoa in August 2018.

Chatimba had claimed Mr Apikotoa instigated the fatal altercation by turning up at the home of Chatimba's ex-partner in St Clair and punching the scaffolder in the face.

He told police he picked up a knife off a pile of rubbish near the house, held it "in a defensive pose hoping to ward off" Mr Apikotoa but "to his surprise" the man kept advancing in a "menacing fashion".

The Crown, which argued Mr Apikotoa had been the one retreating from his attacker, said Chatimba's "tall story" required the deceased man to have been a blind zombie with no regard for self-preservation and an immunity to pain.

Mr Apikotoa suffered a six-centimetre wound to his chest and a seven-centimetre wound to his left shoulder which both proved fatal, the jury heard.

Further cuts were found on Mr Apikotoa's hands, arms and back while blood trailed about 100 metres from the ex-partner's driveway to the doorstep of the home where Mr Apikotoa died.

The Crown said the incident was sparked when Chatimba, during a visit to the ex-partner's home, saw she had a missed call from Mr Apikotoa.

He then became suspicious about the nature of the relationship between his scaffolding colleague and Cassie Sanders, the ex-partner.

"In short, he was jealous," crown prosecutor Gareth Christofi told the jury.

"Ms Sanders tried to explain to him she and the deceased were just friends."

But Chatimba didn't accept that and "pressed" Ms Sanders to return the call, allowing him to air his suspicions to Mr Apikotoa.

Mr Apikotoa, who'd been drinking a nearby pub, was driven to the home by a friend and soon confronted in the driveway by the knife-wielding Chatimba.

A witness told the trial he saw Chatimba charging and a man in a fluoro top back-pedalling with his hands up.

A streetlight illuminated a 20cm knife in the hand of Chatimba, who was seen swinging it down at the other man, the jury heard.

After the verdict, Chatimba was remanded in custody where he's been since his arrest on the night of the murder.

He will face a sentence hearing on June 24.

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