A YOUNG man who “exploded with rage” and beat a stranger to death in a 35-minute frenzied attack outside a Kirup café has been sentenced to life behind bars with a minimum of 18 years.
Saxon Steele Vitali, 24, drank copious amounts of alcohol before he beat up Glenn George Howell and stamped on the 56-year-old’s head in July last year.
Mr Howell tried running away and even crawled under his utility during the protracted beating, but Vitali did not stop until his victim was fatally injured.
Supreme Court Justice Michael Corboy described the attack as prolonged and vicious before sentencing Vitali to life behind bars for murder.
He said Vitali was extremely intoxicated when he exploded into “extraordinary rage that persisted for some time”.
Justice Corboy told the court the repeated stamping on Mr Howell’s head when he was effectively defenceless on the ground at the end of the beating was “particularly disturbing and serious”.
Vitali, who had been at a warehouse party earlier in the night, says he has little recollection of the murder.
He walked away after the beating but handed himself in to police about a week later when he heard something had happened in town because he had a “gut feeling” he was involved.
Vitali told a psychologist he was struggling to understand how he committed the crime given his limited memory.
Mr Howell spent more than a week in an induced coma with a traumatic brain injury before he died.
In her victim impact statement, Mr Howell’s daughter said she never imagined she would have to say goodbye to her father when she was aged 18.
She said she should have had more time to create memories with him.
Defence lawyer Michael Perrella earlier said Vitali was as shocked as everyone else over what he had done.
He said the murderer had been racked with guilt ever since he was charged.
Judge Corboy accepted Vitali was devastated by his actions and was genuinely remorseful.
Vitali’s sentence was backdated to July last year.
Outside court, Mr Howell’s sister Linda Gillion said she was grateful the court case was over and she could now get some closure.
“Maybe now my brother can rest in peace,” she said.