An ice addict who brutally beat a Sydney pig farmer to death with a pick handle in a violent home invasion has been jailed for at least 36 years.
Ryan David Evans, 29, was found guilty in May of a string of offences related to two home invasions including the murder of Keith Cini, 69, at his Badgerys Creek home in the early hours of May 30, 2014.
In the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Robert Allan Hulme set a maximum term of 48 years describing the murder as a "cowardly, violent and shameful attack".
He had given "earnest consideration" to the crown's submission that Evans should be locked up for life but was not satisfied the murder fell within the extreme category attracting the maximum sentence although "it is very close to it".
As well as the murder, Evans was convicted of five other offences including savagely beating Brett Delamont in an earlier home invasion at Medway in the Southern Highlands in late April 2014.
Two other ice addicts, who pleaded guilty and gave evidence against Evans, took part in the Medway home invasion, while one was also involved in the Badgerys Creek crime.
The intruders were seeking money and property to buy drugs.
The Medway residence was in a rural location some distance from neighbours.
The judge said the occupants were attacked when they "were not only entitled to safety and security but at a time when they were at their most vulnerable - in bed asleep".
The Badgerys Creek offences also involved a planned targeting of a home when the residents would be at their most vulnerable.
Evans repeatedly used the pick handle to strike Mr Cini later saying: "It was like I couldn't control myself ... I just kept going until he didn't look like a person anymore and he was covered in blood."
Outside court on Friday, Mr Cini's daughter, Leanne Adam, and Mr Delamont's daughter, Kirby Delamont, said they were happy with the sentence but had hoped for a life term.
Evans will be eligible for parole in 2050.
Mr Cini's partner Lucina Boldi witnessed the attack, and told the court previously that she woke every day feeling terror, rage, guilt and sadness.
Ms Boldi gave chilling evidence about how she "played dead" so a masked intruder would stop hitting her.
She said she was woken in the early hours of May 30, 2014, by Mr Cini calling out "Luce".
She turned on the light, opened her bedroom door and saw two men dressed in dark clothing and with their faces covered standing with Mr Cini outside his bedroom door.
As one of the men turned towards her, she went back inside her bedroom.
"I put my back to the door trying to hold the person out but I wasn't strong enough," she told the court.
"The door got pushed and I was pushed in and I think I got hit in the head and the person kept hitting me and I put my arms up to protect my face."
She fell to the ground and asked her attacker to stop, but he didn't.
Senior Crown prosecutor Christopher Maxwell, QC, said, "Was there a point when he stopped?"
"When he thought I was dead," she said.
She continued to play dead while she heard smashing sounds and a voice saying, "Here it is."
About 10 minutes later, she found Mr Cini lying on the floor, unconscious.
She suffered fractures to her arm and hand. She has a steel plate in her arm and cannot close her hand. She also had 50 stitches to her head.
Mr Evans was also convicted of another home invasion in Medway, in the NSW Southern Highlands.
In that incident, Mr Evans attacked Brett Delamont with a pick handle in the early hours of April 28, 2014.
Mr Delamont's wife Alana Bush previously told the court she woke up to find two masked men in her bedroom, with her husband, suffering an injured and bloodied head, convulsing beside her.
Mr Delamont was left with severe brain damage and $8000 in cash was stolen from the home.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Cini's daughter Leanne Adam asked: "How could someone lock the doors that night, go to sleep in their own home and be bashed to death for money?
"My dad did not die of old age or sickness but was viciously attacked when he was tied up," she said.
"I desperately hope he didn't lie there alone, in pain and suffering, knowing he was going to die.
"What a horrible way to die - not being held by someone who loves you and kind words being your last thoughts."
She didn't get the chance to look after her father in old age "which hurts me".
Ms Boldi said that, before the murder, she was a strong and independent woman, proud of her ability to "demonstrate strength in adversity".
But she now felt paranoid most days and fearful, having no sense of her former self.
AAP, Fairfax Media