Friday, 18 July 2008

Life detention over hammer killing

Court sketch of Matthew Robert Steele

A man who bludgeoned a grandfather to death in Adelaide will spend the rest of his life in detention.

Umberto Crisante, 63, was killed with a hammer in the garden of his house at Clearview in June 2006.

Matthew Robert Steele, 30, pleaded not guilty to murder because of mental incompetence.

The court heard Mr Crisante's wife, Maria, was with their four-year-old granddaughter when she found her bashed husband, who later died in hospital.

In a victim impact statement read by the prosecutor, Mrs Crisante said she now feared being alone.

She had flashbacks of finding her husband lying on the ground covered in blood and said she could no longer sleep.

Defence lawyer Paul Charman told the court Steele's parents had tried to get help for their son before the attack.

But they did not dispute Justice Thomas Gray's order that Steele spend the rest of his life in a mental health facility.

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