An accountant who lived a productive and positive life helping others in the community extended an olive branch to a mentally ill man who killed him months later.
Vincent Evans, 63, was stabbed to death by Justin Karl Siemek after picking up his killer and driving him to his property on the NSW mid-north coast on May 27, 2020.
The NSW Supreme Court this week found the homicide proven but that Siemek, now 43, was not criminally responsible due to his mental state.
The men had struck up a friendship three months earlier, playing squash together and appearing to have no animosity.
When arranging for Siemek to do some fencing work on a friend's property, Mr Evans told the friend Siemek was "a nice fellow who was going through a rough trot".
"Mr Evans was supportive of the accused's issues and tried to help him," Justice Peter Johnson said this week.
However, after picking him up on May 27, Siemek said he began hearing voices to take his friend's life.
On Siemek's version, Mr Evans noticed he was pale and suggested they go to a hospital or Siemek's home in Kempsey.
They only made it a few steps out of the garage before the accountant was stabbed in the neck and died where he fell.
Siemek later dragged the body inside the garage, broke into a gun safe and considered taking his own life.
He was stopped when Vicki Evans returned home and began inquiring where her husband was.
"Oh, he's out. I've had a bad day," Siemek responded, his victim's .22 rifle in hand.
Before police arrested him, Siemek called his sister, speaking in an "eerie" and "robotic" voice she said was consistent with him being mentally unwell, the court was told.
Two eminent forensic psychiatrists told the court the accused met the criteria for a mental impairment, though differed on whether it was a schizoaffective disorder or bipolar.
Siemek had a long history of treatment for mental illness, extending to a bipolar diagnosis at the age of 19.
The apparent lack of a rational motive and his report to a landlord on May 26 that he was hearing voices also supported the defence of mental impairment - a defence supported by the Crown.
"A significant factor which supports a finding that the defence of mental impairment exists in this case, is the way in which (Siemek) committed these acts out of the blue and with no rational explanation," Justice Johnson said.
"This tragic case involved a man with significant mental illness killing a person who had assisted him in the community in which they lived."
The judge said Mr Evans' passing constituted a significant loss to the NSW mid-north coast "where he lived a productive and positive life helping others in the community".
Siemek will remain detained until the Mental Health Review Tribunal determines otherwise.
Australian Associated Press