A young man has been jailed for at least 12 years for murdering his friend with a broken beer bottle behind a western Sydney toilet block.
Marko Akok pleaded guilty in June 2017 in Penrith Local Court to murdering 24-year-old Pabek "Teddy" Gak, whose body was found on a footpath just after midnight on October 28, 2015.
The then 18-year-old and Mr Gak, both Sudanese refugees, were in a group drinking alcohol and playing and singing to rap music behind a toilet block at Mt Druitt.
Others in the group had left the gathering when an argument broke out between the pair after 9pm, prompting Akok to inflict "severe and fatal" violence on his friend with a broken bottle.
Mr Gak was left with horrific injuries, including stab wounds to his face, and a long and deep slash to his neck.
"Clearly his final ordeal was extended and brutal," Justice Richard Button said as he sentenced Akok on Wednesday in the NSW Supreme Court.
Covered in blood, Akok then caught up with his friends and confessed to what he had done, saying: "I just killed somebody who kept calling himself my cousin."
He later pulled a cracked beer bottle out of his pocket and told his friends: "I killed Teddy. I picked up this beer bottle. I smash it, I stabbed him, stabbed him in the neck".
Justice Button said the murder was a "tragic termination of the life of a defenceless young man by an act of brutal violence (that) must be assessed as a very grave example of murder".
The court heard Mr Gak was a "very much loved" son and brother and his loss had been "heartbreaking and devastating for his family".
"The mother of the deceased has simply been broken by his death," Justice Button said.
However, he gave consideration to Akok's youth, difficult upbringing and mental health issues at the time of the murder.
The court heard Akok spent the first few years of his life in Sudan, a country "racked by hunger, civil strife and bloodshed for years".
"All that had occurred to the offender in the first nine years of his life, through no fault whatsoever of his own, is a story of great deprivation and disadvantage, and I have no doubt that it has damaged him psychologically," Justice Button said.
Since his arrest, Akok has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and in 2018 he was previously ruled unfit to be tried for Mr Gak's murder.
However, the Mental Health Tribunal later found he had since developed a significant degree of insight into his crime and his guilty plea could be accepted.
Justice Button said he accepted that at the time of the murder Akok was suffering "if not from schizophrenia itself then certainly from a condition that was beginning to approach it".
Akok was sentenced to 16 years in jail with a non-parole period of 12 years, but he may not be released at the end of his sentence if he is assessed to be a danger to the community.
Australian Associated Press