A man who murdered another man he hardly knew on NSW’s north coast for seemingly no reason has been sentenced to at least 13 years in jail.
He hardly knew his victim and seemingly had no motive.
But in July 2012, Gareth Lewis stomped on a man on NSW’s north coast, murdering him.
Lewis, 38, had just been released from prison in Queensland when he travelled down to Tweed Heads to stay with a man whose son he had met in jail.
From the moment he arrived at Leigh Moon’s home on June 30, 2012, the pair began drinking and taking drugs and by the following morning the 38-year-old was “completely affected”.
While Lewis was in this state Mr Moon’s flatmate, David Mitchell woke up and began fighting with the latter for not waking him up in time for his methadone appointment.
Lewis was not involved in the fight but nevertheless stood up and “out of the blue” walked towards Mr Mitchell and punched him in the head.
As the 42-year-old lay on the ground the ex-con stomped on his head at least three times.
Mr Mitchell died in hospital from a cerebral haemorrhage just over two weeks later.
In sentencing Lewis on Monday, Justice Stephen Rothman said the murder was “unusual”.
“It is not unusual for offenders to be affected by alcohol or drugs … but it is unusual to be genuinely unable to recollect (the events),” he said.
There was also no pre-existing relationship between the pair and Lewis seemingly had no motive whatsoever, Justice Rothman added.
When astonished witnesses later told Lewis “You killed him”, the 38-year-old replied: “No one disrespects me”.
Justice Rothman said Lewis had been adopted by caucasian parents and only discovered his Aboriginal heritage when, at nine years old, children at school teased him about his skin colour.
From then on he formed “negative associations” to try to fit in.
“These exposed him to a life of drugs, alcohol, violence, abuse and criminal activity which led him to his downfall.”
Justice Rothman said Lewis had expressed “profound and genuine” remorse for what he had done.
He sentenced him to a minimum of 13 years and a maximum of 18, setting his earliest date of release in July 2025.
Lewis showed no expression as the sentence was handed down.