"I stabbed him because he tried to rape me."
Jamie Cust made that claim early and often.
Cust, a former abattoir worker, who said he "freaked out" after waking to an older colleague sexually assaulting him at a unit in Scone in 2018 and in a "frenzied" attack stabbed him 49 times was on Monday found not guilty of murder, a jury accepting what he told his step-father and police and finding he was acting in response to "extreme provocation".
Cust, now 22, had pleaded not guilty to murder over the death of Filipino national Jesus Bebita, 41, his "mentor" at JBS Meatworks, and had faced a three-day trial in Newcastle Supreme Court.
Cust did not deny inflicting the wounds, but the sole issue during the trial was whether Cust was operating under extreme provocation, a partial defence that, if not eliminated beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution, would reduce Cust's criminal liability from murder to manslaughter.
The test for extreme provocation is whether the act that killed Mr Bebita was in response to Mr Bebita's conduct, whether what Mr Bebita had done constituted a serious indictable offence, whether it was that conduct that caused Cust to "lose self-control" and, crucially, whether the conduct of Mr Bebita would have caused an "ordinary person" to lose control to the extent where they would intend to kill or cause really serious injury.
During his closing address, Crown prosecutor Brendan Queenan told the jury that even if they believed Cust's version about waking up to a sexual assault they would not accept that what had occurred inside the unit would have caused an "ordinary person" to lose control.
But defence barrister Paul Rosser, QC, had told the jury that something "dramatic" must have happened for Cust to brutally attack Mr Bebita and said Cust's version of being awoken by Mr Bebita in his bed, with his pants down attempting to rape him and the independent scientific evidence fit that description.
On Monday, after deliberating for only four hours, the jury returned to Newcastle Supreme Court and found Cust not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
The verdict means the jury accepted Cust's claims about being woken up by Mr Bebita sexual assaulting him and then determined that an "ordinary person" who found themselves in his situation could have lost control to the extent that they would have intended to kill or really seriously injure Mr Bebita.
Cust will be sentenced for manslaughter in October.