Christopher Phillips was high on a cocktail of heroin, alcohol and prescription drugs when he stabbed his long-suffering elderly father to death in a sustained attack, a court has heard.
The body of Douglas Barry Phillips, 73, was found face down in a pool of blood with a shovel and bloodied knife lying nearby at his home in Melbourne’s south on June 6, 2009.
It was the sixth time his drug addicted son had attacked him.
Mr Phillips had been packing up his belongings in preparation to move to a retirement village unit on the day he was murdered, the Supreme Court of Victoria was told on Friday.
He was selling the family’s Frankston North home, which would mean the son he had continued to take under his wing, despite being repeatedly attacked by him, would have to find a new place to live.
Mr Phillips explained to his son, Christopher Edward Phillips, 37, that this did not mean he would abandon him, promising to help him with a rental bond and furniture if needed.
But Phillips lashed out with a shovel then a knife, stabbing his father in the abdomen and chest about eight times, penetrating his heart.
Crown prosecutor Douglas Trapnell SC said Mr Phillips’ other children had urged him to kick his son out of home but he refused, saying “he is my son and I would do the same for all of you”.
Mr Phillips lived in hope his drug-abusing son would reform, Mr Trapnell said, even though he had been admitted to hospital five times over the past decade, including twice in one night, after his son lashed out at him.
Mr Phillips was ultimately murdered in a “sustained and exceedingly violent attack on an elderly man … in his own home, by his son”, Mr Trapnell told Phillips’ pre-sentence hearing.
He had been abusing alcohol and heroin leading up to the incident and had taken 20 tablets of Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, on the day.
Several of Mr Phillips’ adult children sobbed when their victim impact statements were read out in court.
The statements, prepared by his children and grandchildren, all professed a fear of further violence if Phillips is released from jail.
“I fear if he is released he will come after my wife and other family members,” Mr Phillips’ son Clifford, who saw his father on the day of his murder, said in his statement.
Mr Phillips’ daughter Robyn said she experiences “absolutely horrifying” visions of her father being killed.
“I wish I could have saved him,” she said.
Mr Phillips’ grandchildren said they missed their “Pa” and were afraid of their uncle.
Defence counsel Dermott Dann said Phillips had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse dating back to when he was aged 12.
He has been jailed seven times before.
Mr Dann conceded his client’s crime was “extremely violent and disturbing”, but said Phillips admitted his guilt very early on, including confessing to friends and neighbours shortly after the incident that “I think I killed my Dad”.
Mr Dann said his client was entitled to a reduction in the length of any sentence because he had pleaded guilty.
Justice Simon Whelan will sentence Phillips on August 20.