Killer gets life in jail for brutally smothering flatmate
AFTER brutally smothering the elderly man who took him in off the streets, Michael John Handyside showered and ate a meal - then called Crime Stoppers to report the murder.
Handyside, 33, had covered the body of his flatmate Richard Summers with a blanket while he spent about two hours debating what to do.
Ultimately, he called Crime Stoppers from a nearby pay phone before making a full confession to police when they arrived at the apartment about 5am.
Handyside pleaded guilty in Maryborough Supreme Court to murdering Richard Summers at their Jupiter St unit about midnight on August 27, 2013.
Crown Prosecutor Phil McCarthy said Handyside was given refuge by Mr Summers after the pair had met at a homeless shelter.
Mr Summers, 69, told Handyside he could act as an "unofficial" carer.
The pair had argued the night before and earlier that evening about cigarettes but Handyside remained adamant neither incident was related to the murder.
The court heard Handyside's anger had been brewing and about 11.30pm he got a pillow from his bedroom and spent the next half an hour building up the "courage" to commit the murder.
He then held the pillow over Mr Summers' face while he struggled, before punching him in the face and smothering him with the pillow.
Mr Summers struggled, scratching Handyside on the neck but was unable dislodge him.
"(Handyside) told police one part of his mind said stop and the other part said it was too late," Mr McCarthy said.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Summers' nieces said they had felt "robbed" of time with their uncle, their only connection to their mother, who passed away some years prior.
Defence barrister Catherine Morgan handed up reports from a psychiatrist and psychologist to the court.
In those reports, one of the doctor's mentions Handyside, a thin, balding man, has the reasoning skills in the bottom 5% of all adults.
About two months prior to the attack, Handyside was treated for severe depression after attempting to commit suicide.
"There is no real explanation for what he did and Handyside has none," Ms Morgan said.
She said Handyside did not want to use mental illness as an "excuse" or be seen to be using it as a way to get out of taking full responsibility for his actions.
Justice Peter Applegarth sentenced Handyside to life in prison.
He ordered the doctor's reports be sent to Queensland Corrective Services to ensure Handyside got the medical treatment required.
Mr Summers' nieces spoke briefly to the Chronicle outside the courtroom and said they were relieved the case had been "finally resolved".