Man convicted of ‘fruit cake murder’ of friend’s housemate sentenced to at least 24 years in jail
A man who brutally bashed his friend’s housemate and left him unconscious in a pool of blood with a fruit cake on his head, south of Adelaide, has been sentenced to at least 24 years in jail.
- David Saunders was fatally bashed and stabbed to death in February 2017
- He was found in a pool of blood with a fruit cake on his head in his home south of Adelaide
- Leslie Kevin Talbot has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder, with a non-parole period of 24 years
Leslie Kevin Talbot, 51, was found guilty in August of murdering David Saunders, 59, in his Hayborough house near Victor Harbor in February, 2017.
Talbot has been sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 24 years, backdated to February, 2017.
In sentencing, Justice David Lovell described the attack as prolonged and vicious.
“You attacked him so viciously that when you stomped on his head you actually fractured his skull,” he said.
“You savagely and viciously attacked a man who had done no harm to you and had earlier been happy to have you in his home.
“You have not explained your reason or motive for the attack.
“No doubt you are proud of your efforts as your subsequent bragging demonstrates.”
David Saunders was found dead in his Hayborough house in February 2017. (Supplied: SA Police)
He also said Talbot had provided no explanation as to why he had placed a fruit cake on the victim’s head, but said he had “no doubt that was intended to demean Mr Saunders”.
The court previously heard Mr Saunders sustained at least six blows to the head as well as two knife stab wounds to the neck.
He was found in a pool of blood on his kitchen floor with a fruit cake placed on his head.
There was also a saucepan which had a big dent in it next to his body, along with a blood smeared carpet sweeper.
The South Australian Supreme Court heard Talbot had been drinking heavily earlier in the day and was becoming agitated and aggressive.
Police were called and in an effort to “keep the peace” with his adult son, patrols dropped him at the house where Mr Saunders lived with his housemate, 48-year-old Wayne Crouch, who was later acquitted of his murder and manslaughter.
The court heard the men seemed amicable and were laughing together when police left.
A dented and apparently bloodied kitchen pan was found at the scene. (SA Police Forensic Services)
The two men were arrested later that same night at Talbot’s house down the road with blood on their clothes.
The court heard Talbot likely had a blood alcohol reading in excess of 0.105 at the time of the murder.
Before the three-week trial, Talbot pleaded guilty to manslaughter but it was not accepted by the prosecution.
Talbot has not revealed what motivated the brutal attack and has not expressed any remorse.
His defence lawyer, Derek Kordick, previously argued Talbot’s non-parole period should not exceed the mandatory minimum for murder of 20 years because the killing was not planned.
Justice Lovell said Talbot had a “lengthy” criminal history spanning 31 years, that were mostly dishonesty offences and some drug charges.
“Your history of offending and your age makes your prospect of rehabilitation poor,” Justice Lovell said.
The father of eight — who grew up in Tailem Bend — will be eligible for parole in 2041.