AN abattoir worker who butchered an older colleague inside a unit at Scone, stabbing him 49 times in a "frenzied" attack, could be out of jail as early as 2023 after a judge found the killer was the victim of a "serious act of sexual violence".
Jamie Cust, 22, was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter in July after a jury accepted he was acting in response to "extreme provocation" when he brutally stabbed his "mentor" at JBS Meatworks, 41-year-old Filipino national Jesus Bebita, in a unit in Parker Street on the night of December 17, 2018.
Cust had never denied stabbing Mr Bebita, but claimed after a night of drinking together, he awoke to Mr Bebita sexually assaulting him and "freaked out", losing self-control and repeatedly stabbing his colleague in the bedroom before chasing him down the hall as Mr Bebita desperately tried to escape.
Cust then made an unsuccessful attempt to burn the unit down and Mr Bebita's body was found in a pool of blood in the bathroom the next morning.
Cust was picked up from Scone by his step-father and on the drive back to Muswellbrook told him: "I stabbed him because he tried to rape me."
"I think he is dead," Cust said. "I woke up, my pants were down and he was rubbing his d--- on me."
Cust had a shower and put his bloodstained clothes into a plastic bag before he went to Muswellbrook police station and told the officer at the counter: "I killed someone who tried to rape me."
"Not only was the provocation an attempt to commit sexual violence," Justice Helen Wilson said on Thursday. "It was committed by a man who he looked up to. "There was an obvious breach of trust involved."
The trial focused solely on the issue of "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. And the jury's verdict meant they must have accepted Cust's claims about waking to a sexual assault and then determined that an "ordinary person" who found themselves in his situation would have lost control to the extent that they would have intended to kill or really seriously injure Mr Bebita.
Justice Wilson said it was a difficult sentencing exercise and she had to weigh the "savage" nature of the killing against a "most serious attempt to commit sexual violence" that she said amounted to "extreme provocation of a high order".
She jailed Cust for a maximum of six years, with a non-parole period of four-and-a-half years.
With time served since his arrest, Cust will be eligible for parole in June, 2023.