05:02, August 28 215 0 theguardian.com

2020-08-28 05:02:04
Homeless man cried 'why are you doing this to me?' as he was beaten to death, court told

A witness to a homeless man in Sydney’s inner west being beaten heard him cry out “why are you doing this to me?” before he died, a court has heard.

Andy Goh was travelling from his Ashfield home to go fishing near the Harbour Bridge with a friend when he saw two men “yelling dirty words” while kicking and punching a man who eventually fell down onto a concrete footpath.

“I heard the man saying ‘why are you doing this to me?’” he told the supreme court on Friday through an interpreter.

“I was surprised why two young men would hit an older man.”

When Goh hopped out of his car and approached the 66-year-old man who was by then surrounded by police, he saw his face covered in blood.

Nathan Kelly, 23, and his friend Christopher McLaughlin, 25, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Paul Tavelardis, who was left on the brink of death after an attack in Summer Hill about 12.30am on 29 December 2018.

Barristers for both men said neither formed intent to kill or inflict really serious harm and have suggested the pensioner, who died in hospital nine days later, made the first move.

Goh watched the scene unfold through an open window as his friend drove the car slowly along Elizabeth Street near Grosvenor Crescent.

“I saw one stronger, taller person punch ... he used his fist with a powerful force,” Goh said.

He said the man continued to punch him after he fell to the ground while a “skinny man” kicked him, landing one strike clearly to his head.

Kelly’s defence lawyer David Campbell SC said the incident was obscured by darkness and happened quickly, questioning Goh’s account of what he witnessed.

But Goh said he clearly watched two men chasing the older man onto the road before attacking him.

Senior constable Renee Paulo who attended the crime scene identified a number of bloody clothes presented as evidence, including a navy blue button-up shirt belonging to McLaughlin and Kelly’s jeans and left shoe.

The trial continues before Justice Geoffrey Bellew.