Convicted killer refused bail after alleged breach of parole in Canberra

Convicted killer refused bail after alleged breach of parole in Canberra

A man jailed after killing a drug dealer with a baseball bat during a psychotic episode has been refused bail over a breach of parole.

Matthew Gagalowicz, 32, said he wasn't trying to "play the sympathy card" when explaining a heart condition that caused him to faint six times a day, and which would shorten his life.

He blamed the breach on the condition, but the court heard a doctor had concerns he was using it to avoid obligations.

Gagalowicz had been a user of amphetamines and was convicted of manslaughter 11 years ago in NSW, after crushing a man's skull with a baseball bat before decapitating him, cutting up the body and burying it in his backyard.

He has been on parole for seven years, and is living in Canberra.


He was arrested this week after allegedly missing a third hearing with the Sentence Administration Board within a few months.

Applying for bail on Wednesday, Gagalowicz said he suffered a heart condition that caused him to faint when he stood up.

He said he was often admitted to hospital for injuries after falling, and this was why he had missed the board hearings.

Lifting his pant leg to show the magistrate an injury he said had required stitches on Tuesday, Gagalowicz said treatment had prevented him from making the latest hearing.

He asked if hospital staff "thought I was malingering" about the condition generally, why would they admit him.

A parole officer told the court a doctor at Canberra Hospital had made an unsolicited call to the board, and said she believed he was using the condition to avoid his responsibilities.

His condition could be managed in the AMC, the officer said.

She said while Gagalowicz was normally polite and respectful, he had become verbally aggressive towards staff, including herself, and especially when talking about his obligations.

He apologised for swearing at hospital staff but said he felt he had been treated unfairly and unprofessionally.

Gagalowicz told the court the doctor who had made the phone call was an orthopaedist, and not his treating cardiologist.

The prosecution opposed Gagalowicz's release.

Prosecutor Anthony Williamson said Gagalowicz had been taking regulated narcotics such as codeine, changed his phone number without telling corrective services and refused drug testing.

Magistrate Beth Campbell on Wednesday refused him bail.

He will appear at the Sentence Administration Board next week.

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times