Prosecutor: ‘He hit him and just kept hitting him’
Bound and bleeding on his bathroom floor, a Townsville businessman drew his final breaths after his one-time protege took his life.
The man, whose arms and legs were haphazardly tied together with duct tape, died after inhaling his own blood as a result of the serious injuries he suffered in a violent assault in his own home.
Kyle Robert Thompson on Monday appeared in the Townsville Supreme Court, where he pleaded not guilty to murdering sign-writer David Knyvett in the man's Belgian Gardens home on November 15, 2015.
Thompson, 32, used an empty Jack Daniel's bottle to beat the 59-year-old man - who had taken him in more than a decade earlier - to death, crown prosecutor Nigel Rees told the court.
As Thompson was arraigned he admitted he killed Mr Knyvett, telling a jury he was guilty of manslaughter "by provocation". He claims Mr Knyvett made a sexual advance towards him in the lead-up to the incident.
Mr Rees did not accept this plea and instead elected to continue with the murder trial.
"He hit him and just kept hitting him," Mr Rees said, detailing an alleged confession made to his brother the night of the killing.
"This is not a whodunit. Who did it is the person in the dock."
In his opening address to the jury of 10 women and two men, Mr Rees said there was a complicated history between Thompson and the deceased.
Mr Rees said Mr Knyvett hired Thompson as an apprentice at his sign-writing business about a decade prior to the death and allowed the man, who had a troubled and violent upbringing, to live with him.
Mr Rees said the pair had a strained relationship and that Thompson bounced in and out of the Belgian Gardens home periodically and often asked Mr Knyvett for financial help during tough times.
Just days before the killing, Mr Knyvett had finally had enough and kicked Thompson out of the home.
Thompson's brother, Robert Thompson, was the first to give evidence in the five-day trial, where he said his brother visited his Kelso home on November 15, 2015, and shakily confessed to killing someone.
"He said that he had killed someone … I didn't believe it at first," he said.
Mr Thompson said that his brother told him the man he had been living with had sexually abused him since he was 16 and that he had also made a similar confession about a week earlier.
After the confession, Mr Thompson said he and his brother went to the St James Drive home, looted it and stole things to sell for drugs.
Friends and neighbours of the deceased also gave evidence on Monday with one saying Mr Knyvett was "devastated and hurt" after he kicked Thompson out of the home after he stole his car one night.
In a statement read to the court, one witness said Mr Knyvett suggested Thompson turn to the Salvation Army when he called the day after he was kicked out.
The trial continues.
Originally published as Prosecutor: 'He hit him and just kept hitting him'