The man fatally gunned down in a cold-blooded, targeted attack on a Unanderra street this week was known to police and had an appalling criminal record.
Nathan Costello was shot outside a home on Carr Parade during the early hours of Wednesday morning and died where he fell on the nature strip, despite police officers’ attempts to revive him.
Those close to the 33-year-old have paid tribute to him, with posts on social media saying he “will be missed by many” and telling him to “rest in peace” and “fly high”.
However, Costello had come to the attention of police on a number of occasions, the Mercury can reveal.
In January, 2003, the then-18-year-old was jailed after he stabbed his Warrawong neighbour three times with a screwdriver.
In 2005, Costello was jailed and banned from driving for 10 years following a one-hour, high-speed pursuit in a stolen car the previous year.
At the time, an Illawarra magistrate said he had racked up one of the worst driving records he had seen.
In 2010, Costello told Wollongong District Court his life got so bad that he was committing crime just to go back to the safety of jail.
The comment came during a sentencing hearing for a violent attack on his stepbrother and two counts of aggravated break, enter and steal a few months later.
The attack involved a metal spirit level being smashed over his stepbrother’s head.
In November, 2012, a Wollongong District Court judge labelled Costello a “thuggish coward” after he forced his battered partner to jump out of a motel window with him and hide in bushes to avoid police.
At the time, Judge Paul Conlon said the then-28-year-old was “cunning and calculating” and knew his behaviour – which included smothering his partner with a pillow, slamming her head into concrete and terrorising her with knives – was wrong.
He was sentenced to three years in jail with an additional 15-month parole period.
In 2016, Costello, then 32, stole a mobile phone after demanding a refund at an Oak Flats brothel.
He had paid $75 for a 30-minute session. However, according to police facts before Wollongong Local Court, Costello and the woman were in the bedroom for “a very short period” of time before concluding their business.
Police were later told Costello was “upset it had only taken a few minutes” and demanded a refund.
When no refund was given, Costello grabbed his purchased lover’s phone and ran.
He was sentenced to 12 months jail on that stealing charge plus a host of other offences, one of which saw him in possession of a fake firearm at a house in Bulli.
The probe into Wednesday morning’s shooting is ongoing.
The hunt for the person, or people, responsible continues.