The 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.
‘Justice hasn’t been served’: Cady family
The family of slain Wollongong man Jade Cady say they are devastated that his killer will spend just 12 years behind bars.
“In the end justice hasn’t been done,” Mr Cady’s younger sister Julie Cady told the media after the sentence for her brother’s neighbour was handed down in Wollongong on Thursday.
“Twelve years is not good enough, our justice system is a joke.”
Supreme Court Justice Des Fagan sentenced Meirion Morris to an overall jail term of 17 years for murder of Mr Cady inside a unit on New Dapto Road in November 2014.
Justice Fagan found Morris’ drug-induced mental illness had played a major part in the circumstances leading up to the killing.
He also found Morris had shown remorseful for what he’d done – a sentiment not shared by Ms Cady.
“He hasn’t shown any remorse, not even when the verdict came back,” she said.
“I want to visit him in jail so he can explain himself to me.”
Ms Cady said it was “agonising” to sit through the court process and listen to details of how Morris bludgeoned her brother in the throat with a hammer during an argument over cannabis.
The blow caused his windpipe to collapse and he suffocated.
Mr Cady’s body was found wrapped in plastic bags inside a wardrobe in Morris’ unit three days later.
“He was harmless, he kept to himself,” Ms Cady said in describing her brother.
“He had a drug addiction but he was the kind of person not to hurt anybody.”
The court heard Morris had been a long-term drug user and suffered from a form of schizophrenia at the time that caused him to believe all of humanity was Satanic and that the apocalypse was imminent.