Slain Lake Illawarra man Matthew Davis captured the DNA of his killer under his fingernails as he fought for his life, a court has heard.
Police will allege Stephen Staff bashed Mr Davis to death inside his home at 7 Thomas Street in the early hours of August 22 last year before making off with his iPhone, a laptop, a Playstation console and a modem.
Detectives carried out a lengthy investigation resulting in Staff's arrest on Wednesday. The 65-year-old was subsequently charged with murder and remanded in custody, before seeking bail in Wollongong Local Court on Friday.
Court documents reveal Staff repeatedly denied having ever set foot inside Mr Davis' home, despite police allegedly finding his DNA under Mr Davis' fingernails, on an 'Oodie' hoodie Mr Davis was wearing at the time of his death and on a bloodied tea towel in the laundry.
The court heard Mr Davis lived alone in the Housing NSW property and was largely a recluse, only leaving the house to buy groceries and attend medical appointments.
He last had contact with family on the afternoon of August 21 and online with friends at 7pm that night.
His mother contacted one of his friends two days later with concerns for her son's welfare after she hadn't heard from him.
The friend arrived at the home to find Mr Davis lying on the floor of his lounge. He contacted emergency services and tried to perform CPR but Mr Davis was already dead.
A post-mortem revealed he suffered blunt force trauma to his face.
Court documents said the pathologist also found there was evidence of a struggle before death however Mr Davis' lack of muscle strength means he wouldn't have offered up significant resistance.
Police obtained CCTV footage from surrounding houses, which allegedly showed two suspicious vehicles in the vicinity of Mr Davis' house that day.
Police will allege one of the vehicles - a white Holden Rodeo - belongs to Staff.
Detectives began monitoring staff's phone calls and recorded multiple conversations he had with family and friends about Mr Davis' death, the police investigation and speculation regarding his involvement.
At one stage, he dismissed the chatter as "Chinese whispers".
"Everyone is saying bits and pieces and it is all just adding up and then before you know it, I get dragged in again to be talked about things, if everyone just shut their f--king mouth and said nothing about anyone's business ...," he said.
"Nobody even knows anything about anything anyways. It's the way that Chinese whispers work. I'm going to be on the arse end of it."
In another phone call, Staff was overheard saying "I've done nothing wrong".
In court on Friday, defence lawyer Matt Ward argued the case against his client was not a strong one, noting the CCTV footage police relied on was poor quality.
He said Staff suffered from significant health issues including heart disease, which had caused him to have two heart attacks in the past.
He said Staff was currently taking six different types of medication and needed to be at liberty to attend specialist medical appointments with his treating doctors, all of whom are located in the Illawarra.
Police opposed Staff's bail application, citing the risk to community safety if he was released from custody.
"It's a strong prosecution case, with DNA located," prosecutor Rachel Biffen said.
Magistrate Robert Walker refused bail on account of the seriousness of the charge and the strength of the case.
The matter will return to court in July.
Read more Illawarra court and crime stories here.
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