The aunt of a man who was murdered during a drug deal gone wrong has told the NSW Supreme Court she regrets bringing her nephew to Australia, while his mother said she knows in her heart that her dead son was “a good person”.
Wachira “Mario” Phetmang, 33, was bashed to death with a blunt object in May 2018 when the man to whom he was planning to sell methamphetamine, Alex Dion, decided to rob him of the drugs instead.
Dion, 41, claimed in court Mr Phetmang was murdered by his housemate, but admitted to dumping the victim’s body in bushland next to Homebush Bay Drive in Sydney’s west, and within hours fleeing to the US.
He was extradited to Australia to face trial, during which a jury heard Dion ripped up his t-shirt and used it to tie up and gag his victim, then drove around smoking ‘ice’ for hours with Mr Phetmang’s body in the back of his car before dumping it.
He was found guilty of the murder on March 18.
At a sentence hearing conducted online before Justice Robert Beech-Jones on Monday, the court was read victim impact statements from Mr Phetmang’s mother, aunt, sister and wife. His mother, Vipada Phetmang, said when she received the news of her son’s death “my heart was broken” and she was “crying like a mad person”.
She said her son “was going to have a good future” and did not understand why he was killed.
“I only know within my heart that my son is a good person, he always treats his parents with gratitude,” she said in her statement.
The victim’s aunt, Tipawan Lee, said she had been “excited” to bring her nephew to Australia in 2010 after he completed his bachelor’s degree in Thailand and “I did everything in my power to support my beloved nephew”.