A NSW abattoir worker who stabbed a work colleague 49 times but was found not guilty of murder because of ‘extreme provocation’ is a good bloke, his stepsister says.
Giving evidence as a defence witness in the Newcastle Supreme Court on Wednesday, Layla Price said she was shocked when told her stepbrother, Jamie Cust, had stabbed someone to death in 2018.
‘It just didn’t seem anything like he’d do,’ Ms Price said.
Cust, 22, claimed he freaked out after waking up to find Filipino national Jesus Bebita sexually assaulting him.
A jury found Cust not guilty of murdering Mr Bebita, 41, but guilty of manslaughter on December 17, 2018.
The two men had been friends and colleagues at the JBS Meatworks at Scone when Cust was invited over to Mr Bebita’s unit for a few drinks.
Jesus Bebita was stabbed 49 times following an unwanted sexual advance towards his work colleague Jamie Cust
Slaughterhouse worker Jamie Cust told police he ‘freaked out’ when he woke up to Mr Bebita touching his penis after a night of drinking
Mr Bebita’s body was found in a pool of blood in the bathroom the next morning after having been stabbed 49 times in a frenzied attack.
Cust called his stepfather, Viv Price, at 4.14am to pick him up and on the drive back to Muswellbrook told him, ‘I stabbed him because he tried to rape me.’
‘I think he is dead. I woke up, my pants were down and he was rubbing his dick on me,’ Cust told his stepfather.
After showering and putting his blood-soaked clothes in garbage bags, Cust turned himself in at Muswellbrook police station.
Mr Price told the court on Wednesday he had begun a relationship with Cust’s mother in 1998 in Muswellbrook when the boy was about six months old and the couple had Layla a year later.
Mr Price said the couple separated in 2001 and Cust’s mother went to Sydney before both children were left abandoned at Muswellbrook train station about two years later and he raised them both as his own.
He described Cust as being hysterical when he picked him up after the fatal stabbing and admitted he’d done the wrong thing and should have just bashed Mr Bebita.
‘The person that I know, he wouldn’t have done stuff like that,’ Mr Price said.
Prosecutor Brendan Queenan urged Justice Helen Wilson to consider the manslaughter case was at the upper range of seriousness given Cust had stabbed Mr Bebita 49 times, pursuing him from the bedroom, down the hallway into the bathroom as the victim desperately tried to escape.
Defence barrister Paul Rosser QC said Cust had unusually good prospects of rehabilitation because he had always been a worker and was close to his stepfather and sister who had never seen him act violently in the past.
Justice Wilson noted anyone abandoned at such a young age by their mother would have been expected to turn to drugs, and be in and out of jail but this was not the case with Cust.
After Cust’s arrest, he asked an officer, ‘Do you think I am a bad person?’ The officer replied, ‘You have murdered someone, mate, it doesn’t get any worse.’
Cust made a stabbing motion with his hand and said, ‘I just stabbed him and it took ages for him to die.’
He later told detectives: ‘I woke up and we were in bed together and he was touching my penis and I freaked out.’
Police found a note in Cust’s bag indicating he had been thinking about fleeing north after killing Mr Bebita.
Cust will be sentenced on Thursday.