The West

A homeless man accused of murdering a Mosman Park man who offered him and his dog a place to stay will be sentenced in April after he was last week found guilty.

Phillip John Smith, 30, went on trial in the Supreme Court earlier last week after pleaded not guilty to murdering Damian Andrew Noakes, 31, whose body was discovered inside a burnt out Mosman Park unit in June 2012.

Late last week, the jury found Smith guilty of the murder charge. He was remanded in custody to April 10 for sentencing.

He had pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal damage by fire relating to the same incident.

The jury was told during opening addresses last week that Smith and Mr Noakes met at a Fremantle outreach centre only the day before the killing.

It was alleged Mr Noakes had offered Smith a couch to sleep on after discovering he was homeless when they met at the outreach centre

The prosecution said Mr Noakes’ body was discovered on June 28, 2012 - the day after his alleged murder - in the burnt out unit and that he had a number of injuries, including five penetrating stab wounds to the right side of his neck.

It was also alleged Smith doused the unit and a doona he used to cover the body in petrol and turned on gas knobs inside the unit before he lit a match and left the unit.

Smith had admitted he killed Mr Noakes but had been fighting the more serious charge of murder.

The jury was told Smith and Mr Noakes had dinner together that night, after which Smith broke down about his daughter and Mr Noakes grabbed him by the ears and shook his head, telling him to “man up” and “snap out of it”.

Smith later told police the next thing he remembered was standing over Mr Noakes' body, telling officers he must have snapped but had no memory of the incident.

The defence team had told the jury that Smith denied an intention to kill or cause life-threatening injuries to Mr Noakes.

The West Australian

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