This is the last face Wollongong drug dealer Jade Cady saw on the night he died.
Meirion Morris was a 57-year-old Welshman who had been Mr Cady’s reclusive next door neighbour – and occasional customer –for four years.
On the night of November 24, 2014, he became Mr Cady’s killer.
Morris, who suffered from a schizophrenia-type illness induced by years of drug-taking, had invited the 36-year-old over to smoke cannabis with him – an unprecedented move given Morris had a “pathological mistrust” of others and almost always kept to himself.
Mr Cady accepted, however as soon as he entered Morris’ New Dapto Road unit, the later began to complain about a recent drug deal in which Mr Cady had short-changed him on a quantity of cannabis.
Mr Cady did not appreciate being confronted and began to shout in protest.
Morris panicked, fearful Mr Cady’s shouting would cause others to come to his aid, and tried to silence Mr Cady by punching him in the stomach
The two men wrestled and fell to the floor, however Mr Cady continued to shout.
It was then Morris noticed a hammer on the coffee table nearby. In a split second, Morris grabbed the weapon and swung it forcefully at Mr Cady’s throat, landing a “substantial blow”.
He then hit Mr Cady a further three times more softly but by that stage the damage had been done: Mr Cady’s windpipe had collapsed and he suffocated to death.
Morris was found guilty of Mr Cady’s murder on Wednesday following a seven-day trial in the NSW Supreme Court.
In sentencing Morris to a maximum of 17 years’ jail on Thursday, Justice Des Fagan said he was satisfied Morris’ “chronic paranoia” and complex mental health problems had played a major part in the events that led to Mr Cady’s death.
However, he said he could not make the finding that Morris had intended to kill Mr Cady when he invited him over that night, nor when he inflicted the fatal blow.
“The blow was conceived of and executed in an instant,” he said.
“The lack of premeditation, the spontaneous single strike in the heat of a struggle….I’m satisfied his intention was only to cause grievous bodily harm and not to kill.”
Morris will be eligible to apply for parole after 12 years behind bars.