A 57-year-old man has confessed to bludgeoning his elderly mother to death in the backyard of their Woonona home so she wouldn't bother him anymore, a court has heard.
Boutros Mouawad had been arguing with 72-year-old Hind Mouawad about her gambling addiction on the evening of February 16 last year when Mouawad picked up a large piece of wood and hit his mother multiple times in the head and face.
Despite agreeing that he had struck her with the "intention of killing her", Mouawad on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter in lieu of an original charge of murder.
Prosecutors accepted that Mouawad capacity to control himself that night had been severely diminished by his bipolar disorder and the should not be tried on the count of murder.
After the initial blows...
Unaware whether his mother was alive or dead after the first set of strikes, Mouawad then wrapped her head in a plastic bag in a bid to stop the blood from spreading.
He left her body in the garden and headed to the Bulli-Woonona RSL just before 7pm.
He left the club about 9.30pm, returned home and again hit his mother in the head with the piece of wood.
"The offender thought she was dead but wanted to make sure she was dead to shut her up so she couldn't say anything anymore and bother him for the rest of his life," a set of agreed facts tendered to Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday said.
Mouawad moved his mother's body to the base of a set of steps in the backyard and turned the hose on her to wash away the blood.
He removed the now blood-stained plastic bag from around her head, put it in the boot of his car and returned to the RSL just before 10pm.
He spent 90 minutes at the club.
Just before he left, Mouawad removed the blood-stained plastic bag from the boot of his car, dumped it in a nearby bin and drove home.
The court heard he again hosed down his mother's body before calling triple zero at 11.24pm.
He told the operator "my mum's unconscious, she fell over...on her head".
He claimed to not have known when or how it happened as he'd been at the RSL club.
The court heard he was reluctant to perform CPR on his mother when directed to by the operator, saying "I can't do it, she's all wet, she's all soaking in blood all over her face".
Paramedics arrived less than 10 minutes later but Mrs Mouawad was dead.
Police arrived a short time later and began analysing the scene. They discovered the piece of wood, still covered in Mrs Mouawad's blood, near a tree in the backyard.
The police interviews
Mouawad was questioned by detectives just before 6.30 the next morning in the first of four interviews he would give during the course of the police investigation.
He told officers he'd been at the RSL club from about 6.30pm to 11pm and had arrived home to find his mother "lying in the backyard in a pool of blood on top of the running garden hose".
He said "so she's out the back somewhere, watering, whatever. Somehow she'd fallen down, someone's clobbered her over the head, whatever's happened".
However, Mouawad's story quickly began to unravel when police obtained CCTV footage from the RSL showing Mouawad's comings and goings from the premises and him dumping the blood-stained plastic bag in the bin.
He claimed he'd used the bloodied bag to wipe his mothers mouth so he could give her mouth-to-mouth and that he'd been picking up cement when he'd been captured driving out of the club carpark at 9.30pm.
Mouawad maintained his innocence, saying he'd nothing wrong and told police "all I know is what I've seen....I come home, my mother is dead".
However, when speaking to another officer at the end of one of his second interview, Mouawad said "I've committed a crime alright, I've murdered my mother alright, so they're going to send me to jail".
He was interviewed a third time but again maintained his innocence, claiming he'd made the comment in the heat of the moment and had dreamt it up.
Mouawad was charged with murder and remanded in custody.
Jailhouse letter confessions
The court heard Mouawad sent two letters to family members the following month, both of which contained admissions.
"I can't believe God allowed me to do such an evil and cowardly thing", he wrote, before adding "I am so sorry to have hurt you all.... I am ashamed and truly sad at what has happened".
In the second letter, Mouawad wrote "mother is in my heart forever. I don't care anymore what I did. It was a very bad and cowardly mistake. I honestly didn't want to hurt her or anybody else. After a few days I realised what I did. I obviously took mum's life, and ruined all the family.
The admission were subsequently reported to police and Mouawad was interviewed for a fourth and final time on April 9.
He came somewhat clean about his actions that night, telling officers "it happened quickly...it happened fast" but also falsely claimed he didn't remember hitting his mother and that she may have hit him first.
What happened to Hind Mouawad?
A post mortem carried out on Mrs Mouawad's damaged body revealed she had died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Her injuries included multiple fractures to her skull and the right side of her face, bleeding on the brain, contusions to her brain and bruising to her forehead, mouth, cheeks and jaw.
Boutros Mouawad will face Wollongong District Court in June for a sentencing date to be fixed. He remains behind bars.