A man who died after being stabbed in the doorway of his Shoalhaven caravan is remembered as being greatly loved by his family, a judge said when sentencing his killer to more than 20 years in jail.
Nowra resident Raymond Allen and a second man had come up with a plan to rob 49-year-old David McArthur, a small-time methylamphetamine dealer, so they could steal his drugs or money.
On the evening of 25 July, 2021, the pair drove to where their victim lived at a Sanctuary Point caravan park. Because Allen, then aged 39, knew Mr McArthur had served in the army, he armed himself with a kitchen knife.
They planned to turn off his van’s electricity to make him come outside, but the second man couldn’t find the correct switch to turn off his lights.
What exactly happened next is unclear, but at some stage Allen went to the door of the caravan, faced his victim, then stabbed him in the chest.
Mr McArthur was able to retreat inside his van and blocked the door. A neighbour heard his shouts and came to give him first aid, but he died from blood loss before paramedics arrived.
Allen, now 41, faced a NSW Supreme Court trial earlier this year where a jury found him guilty of murder.
Judge Desmond Fagan said Mr McArthur had served in the army until he was medically discharged in 1996, then he worked in various capacities in Sydney, Wilcannia and South Australia before moving to Sanctuary Point in 2019.
His parents were there and he lived with them for a year before moving into the caravan park. Statements from his family showed he was “greatly loved and valued and that his loss is deeply, widely and lastingly felt”, the judge said.
Judge Fagan said the only direct evidence he had about what happened when Allen appeared at Mr McArthur’s door came from Allen himself during the trial, but he was not a truthful or reliable witness.
“[The jury] clearly did not accept that self-defence was the reason he inflicted the fatal stab wound,” the judge said.
Allen fled as soon as he stabbed his victim and did not go inside the caravan to find any drugs or money.
“It is a measure of the drug and alcohol induced fog of the offender’s brain that he had no rational concept of how he would complete this robbery,” Judge Fagan said.
“He was at the time supported by Centrelink payments and, by his own admission, he used each fortnightly benefit to buy 14 two‑litre casks of port, which he consumed at the rate of one per day until the next welfare payment came through.”
He was not satisfied that Allen intended to kill Mr McArthur when he stabbed him, but he had intended to inflict a serious injury.
Just two months after the murder, Allen also committed a reckless wounding offence on the streets of Nowra, in which he smashed a mug on the head of a young man, causing a serious cut and a depressed skull fracture. He has already been handed a jail sentence for that offence.
The second man pleaded guilty to murder over his role in Mr McArthur’s death and was handed a years-long jail sentence, on the basis that he had been in a joint criminal enterprise with Allen to carry out the robbery.
On Friday (1 December), Allen was sentenced to 22 years’ jail with a non‑parole period of 15 years and nine months, which means he will be eligible to be released from July 2038.