AFTER Glen Innes greengrocer Adrian Trevett was strangled in an old butter factory shed in 2010, his accused killer, Matthew Aquilina, worried he “may have got it wrong”.
This is what the jury was told by defence barrister Tania Evers in the Newcastle Supreme Court yesterday as she delivered her summation of Aquilina’s evidence.
In what she said was “undoubtedly a very difficult trial” for the jury, it was now up to them to determine if Aquilina was provoked into killing Mr Trevett.
Aquilina had earlier pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The court heard that, after hearing about allegations Mr Trevett had sexually assaulted young children and sexually harassed Aquilina’s mother, Karen Dawson, the accused went to the butter factory at Red Range to find out if the allegations were true.
Ms Evers told the court that, after hours of speaking to Mr Trevett, her client “lost control” when the victim made a reference to him about young children.
She said the court also heard claims Mr Trevett was “smirking and laughing” when being questioned which had “inflamed” Aquilina.
She said Aquilina admitted to taking a steel bar and a knife with him to the scene because he was told by his mother that Mr Trevett was violent and he wanted to protect himself.
Ms Evers suggested, if Mr Trevett’s death was planned and calculated, those implements would have been the “obvious things to use”, rather than the rope which was in the old butter factory.
She said, given what he’d “been told” about Mr Trevett, it was “not surprising” her client would be angry when he arrived at Red Range, but it wasn’t until hours later that he was “provoked”.
Paragraphs from letters Aquilina wrote to his mother while in prison were also re-read to the jury.
Ms Evers said the letters showed Aquilina’s remorse for Mr Trevett’s death.
She submitted the jury wouldn’t be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that her client would be guilty of murder.
Dawson is also charged with Mr Trevett’s murder; her trial is running alongside Aquilina’s.
She has pleaded not guilty.
The pair is accused of being involved in a criminal enterprise which killed Mr Trevett in the butter factory before dumping his body in bushland near Tenterfield.
His body wasn’t recovered until last January.
The jury is expected to retire tomorrow to deliberate its verdict.