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Vic man apologises for fatal drug robbery

A Victorian man who admitted killing another with a rubber mallet during a drug robbery has apologised to the victim’s family and vowed to turn his life around.

Tomas Cugurno-Pfabe, 27, broke into Bradley Crawford’s caravan and fatally struck the 43-year-old in the head with a mallet while Benjamin Nagy, 24, held his throat at Scoresby, in Melbourne’s east, in September 2019.

Both men have pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Cugurno-Pfabe on Wednesday faced the Victorian Supreme Court, where he stood and read a letter of apology.

“I killed Bradley Crawford – I would like to accept and acknowledge my actions ended the life of another person,” Cugurno-Pfabe told the court.

“The weight of my actions has left a family broken. Every day I’m alive I will think about the people I hurt and the lives impacted – both the Crawford family and my own.

“I am sorry.”

The court heard the two men planned to steal drugs from Mr Bradley, who had been selling marijuana and cocaine out of his caravan.

Cugurno-Pfabe said while the robbery was driven by his drug addiction, he took “full responsibility” for his actions and did not offer this comment as an excuse.

The cabinet-maker also said he was now drug-free for the first time since he was 13 years old and vowed to be a “better man” when released from prison.

“I know I will endure an extensive amount of time in custody,” Cugurno-Pfabe said.

“But I will carry the emotional sentence for the rest of my life. The deep feeling of regret and shame I feel on the daily basis.”

Cugurno-Pfabe’s mother, Karine Cugurno, said her son was “shattered” he had killed Mr Bradley, a father-of-three, given he had grown up without his biological father.

“As a family we’re pretty scared and frightened to lose him,” Ms Cugurno said.

“But he’s pointed out to me that he gets to come home one day and Bradley doesn’t. And he knows what’s it like to grow up without his dad.”

Mr Bradley’s ex-partner, Jenny Crawford, said their 13-year-old son needed his father now more than ever.

“I just don’t understand how anyone can do this and live with themselves,” Ms Crawford said in a statement.

“The impact is significant and forever.”

Cugurno-Pfabe and Nagy, who did not make a statement during Wednesday’s pre-sentence hearing, both pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter after they had charges of murder and armed robbery dropped in May.

Murder and armed robbery charges were also dropped against Jake Oldis and Denaye Whitfield.

They pleaded guilty to robbery and were sentenced to time already served alongside 18-month community correction orders.

Whitfield spent 54 days in custody and admitted robbery on the basis she disclosed the location of Mr Crawford’s drug stash.

Oldis’ involvement was limited to him being the getaway driver. He spent 104 days in custody.

Cugurno-Pfabe and Nagy were remanded in custody and are expected to be sentenced on November 12.

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