Meth leads to murder

Pinjarra Murray Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A MAN who broke into an apart­ment in Mandurah, mur­dered a res­i­dent and at­tacked the res­i­dent’s part­ner had been on a five-day “methy­lam­phetamine bender” and was in a psy­chotic state, a court heard on Thurs­day.

On the day he was due to stand trial ear­lier this week, Damian Eric Max­field (40) ad­mit­ted stabbing 40-year-old Scott Martin as he slept and at­tack­ing his part­ner Erelle Ma­son (32) in their Halls Head home in Jan­uary last year.

Dur­ing sen­tenc­ing sub­mis­sions in the Supreme Court of WA on Thurs­day, it emerged Max­field had been a long-term meth user and had also drank al­co­hol and gone to the casino be­fore get­ting into the se­cure apart­ment build­ing.

Pros­e­cu­tor Laura Chris­tian said Max­field launched “an un­pro­voked at­tack on a com­plete stranger while he was asleep”, then used var­i­ous ob­jects to hit Ms Ma­son.

Ms Chris­tian said Max­field choked Ms Ma­son twice as she fought back and she started to lose con­scious­ness more than once.

Ms Ma­son’s for­ti­tude pre­vented her from be­ing killed, the pros­e­cu­tor said.

She ran out of the unit and Max­field tried to coax her back in­side.

As Mr Martin lay dy­ing, Max­field took a lap­top com­puter that was next to him and had Mr Martin’s blood on it and left by climb­ing down from the 10th-floor bal­cony to the level be­low.

De­fence coun­sel Paul Yovich sub­mit­ted his client had acted ir­ra­tionally as he had an un­der­ly­ing delu­sional dis­or­der – be­liev­ing the Rus­sian mafia was com­ing af­ter him – and that was ex­ac­er­bated by his drug use.

Mr Yovich also said Max­field had no mem­ory of what hap­pened and was gen­uinely re­morse­ful.

But Ms Chris­tian read out a per­sonal phone con­ver­sa­tion Max­field had in jail in which he said: “I don’t know if I should say I don’t re­mem­ber much or just spill the beans”.

She urged Jus­tice Michael Cor­boy to re­ject psy­chi­atric di­ag­noses of Max­field hav­ing some sort of un­der­ly­ing dis­or­der, say­ing “his con­di­tion at the time was en­tirely drug-in­duced”. Jus­tice Cor­boy asked Ms Chris­tian if he should view the crimes as “a hor­rific, vi­o­lent act with no ex­pla­na­tion, with­out mo­tive”. She agreed al­though Max­field had be­come ob­sessed with the be­lief his gui­tar was in the apart­ment. Max­field will be sen­tenced in Septem­ber.

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