Man pleads guilty to manslaughter
A man was tied up, beaten, stabbed and had gym weights thrown at his head in a group attack that lasted several hours, before his body was dumped in the Murray River near Cobram, a court has heard.
Huai De Ooi, 32, of Lemnos, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to the manslaughter of Umit Bolat, 45.
The court was told Mr Bolat had family in Tatura, but was staying at Ooi’s Lemnos house when he was attacked on August 13, 2018.
The prosecutor told the court Ooi, also known as Arthur, was a contractor at orchards in Shepparton, had wanted to eject Mr Bolat from his house that night.
A fight started over nonpayment of a drug debt.
The court heard Ooi held a pocket knife to the back of the victim’s neck before hitting him with a wooden stick and a metal pole.
Ooi, a Malaysian citizen who was living in Australia illegally, was also seen firing a shot from a gun at the ground.
Four other people joined in the fight, hitting Mr Bolat with a chair, a clothes iron and a metal pole, as well as punching him in the head.
Ooi also stabbed Mr Bolat in the leg with his pocket knife.
The victim’s hands were tied behind his back during the attack.
Mr Bolat’s car was dumped in a supermarket car park in Shepparton before Ooi and one of the others dumped Mr Bolat’s body in the Murray River near Cobram East.
Mr Bolat’s body was found bound and wrapped in a doona by police divers on October 11.
Nine victim impact statements from Mr Bolat’s family members were tendered to the court.
“You stole my sleep, my dreams, my breath, by taking my son,” a statement by Mr Bolat’s mother said.
Ooi’s defence counsel Jason Gullaci said his client’s actions were “out of character”.
He said Ooi was trying to evict Mr Bolat from his house that night and was concerned about a gun that he may have had.
He said ultimately it was the use of the gym weights being thrown at Mr Bolat by Ooi and another man that caused Mr Bolat’s death.
A sentence will be handed down in the Supreme Court at the end of the week.