Red Hill property owner pleads not guilty to murder
Red Hill suspected murder
Terry Freebody, the alleged murder victim, presents a trophy to Jono Dean at the Queanbeyan Cricket Club in 2009.
A wealthy property owner accused of murdering his elderly neighbour was found sitting on the toilet with bloodied hands and a blood-stained knife nearby, a court has heard.
And police allege Luigi Costa, 69, threatened to kill the officers who first arrived on the scene of the slaying.
But the Red Hill man has pleaded not guilty to murdering his 89-year-old across-the-road neighbour, Terrence Freebody, at Costa's Mugga Way home.
He made a bid for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court yesterday, offering three properties worth nearly $10 million in total as surety.
But the application was put on hold so more information could be gathered about his mental health.
Police have said initial inquiries have suggested Costa wasn't known to mental health authorities in either Canberra of Queanbeyan. But two hours after police arrived on the scene the accused man returned an alcohol reading of .157 - more than three times the legal driving limit.
Detective Senior Constable Sarah Casey summarised the investigations into the death in court yesterday.
Police allege a man identifying himself as Costa called triple-zero at 5.06pm on Sunday.
He asked for police assistance, saying he had been attacked and the assailant remained inside the house.
The court heard the operator noticed a moaning sound in the background before the call was ended. Police allege the operator rang back and spoke again to the same man but this time could not hear moaning.
Officers arrived on the scene about 5.25pm and found Mr Freebody lying in the dining room.
The court heard a preliminary forensic examination suggested he was stabbed with a knife.
Magistrate Peter Dingwall suppressed details of the stabbing at the request of prosecutor Anthony Williamson and with the support of the defence lawyers.
It is alleged the officers found Costa sitting on the toilet in the bathroom with blood on his hands.
A bloodied knife was also allegedly found in a nearby basin.
Senior Constable Casey said Costa told an officer on the scene, ''I know you're just doing your job but when I get out I'm going to kill you and your boss''. The constable told the court police were unaware of any motive for the alleged killing.
The serious nature of the charge meant Costa's lawyers, Kamy Saeedi and Shane Gill, needed to show special and exceptional circumstances to win their client's freedom.
The court heard Costa was prepared to put up his house on Mugga Way and two commercial properties in Fyshwick and Queanbeyan, worth a total of nearly $10 million, as a surety. Two friends of Costa also offered to provide a surety. One volunteered to give the defendant a place to stay and make sure he stuck to bail conditions.
Mr Gill also pointed out his client had been living in the territory since he was about 11 or 12.
The lawyer said it was ''highly unusual'' for a man of his age to come before the court for any charge, ''let alone murder''.
But Mr Dingwall expressed concern about the man's mental health given the nature of the alleged attack and the apparent lack of any motive.
The magistrate said an ''unexplained, frenzied, brutal attack on an elderly man'' was ''not rational''.
The bail application will resume in August. Costa remains in custody.