Northcott Mutilator Damien Anthony Peters is fighting to be released from prison as the State of NSW tries to block his bid for fear he could commit more violent offences
A killer known as ‘The ‘Mutilator’ for a series of grisly murders is fighting to be released from prison – with authorities desperately working to block his parole bid out of fear he could resume his horrific attacks.
Damien Anthony Peters was convicted of the murders of two male lovers whose bodies he dismembered at the Northcott housing block at Surry Hills in inner Sydney, known to locals as ‘The Suicide Flats’.
Peters committed the grisly crimes while high on a massive and potentially lethal cocktail of 19 different drugs, including ice, heroin, testosterone, steroids, Xanax, Dilantin, Valium and Mogadon.
When Peters was last released from jail on parole with conditions including not to drink or take drugs, he cut off his satellite tracking anklet and fled to Sydney’s Oxford Street in 2019.
He was arrested while on the run after a manager at popular gay pub, the Stonewall Hotel, asked Peters on two successive nights to leave due to his excessive intoxication.
Peters, then aged 50, was returned to custody and an application for an interim continuing detention order (CDO) was heard by the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday. Without that order, Peters’ jail term is due to expire in September.
Justice Julia Lonergan heard submissions on Thursday from Peters’ lawyer Matt Johnson as to why he should be released into the community on an Extended Supervision Order with more than 50 conditions.
Last time Peters was released on parole he cut off his satellite tracking anklet, was found severely intoxicated in Sydney gay bars and was eventually arrested (above)
When police knocked on the door of Flat 3 in A block of Northcott, a dazed Peters let them inside where they found the decapitated torso of Bevan Frost beside his head in a bag
Mr Johnston told the court Peters ‘needs to be exposed to life situations to foster his rehabilitation’ and that the conditions were ‘capable of protecting the community’
Lucy Nichols, representing the state of NSW, applied for continuing detention, arguing that Peters presents an unacceptable risk of committing a serious offence if released and said ‘testing the defendant in the community flies in the face of a risk avoidant approach’.
Peters was a 31-year-old unemployed drug addict when he committed the mutilation murders in 2001.
Peters was six-foot tall, fit and muscular from heavy steroid use, and had a minor record for drug possession, break enter and steal crimes, and one serious assault.
He spent four months in prison for breaking into a pharmacy to steal Rohypnol tablets, and was released in 1997 to Langton Clinic Half Way House where he met Tereaupii ‘Andrei’ Akai.
Damien Peters (above) was on a cocktail of 19 drugs including intravenous steroids, ice, heroin, testosterone, speed, Xanax, Dilantin, Valium and Mogadon
After murdering each of his victims, Peters smashed apart the men’s flats, ransacking each unit in a drug-fuelled frenzy after which he began dismembering their bodies and disposing of the parts
The 47-year-old New Zealander began a romance with Peters, who moved into Akai’s flat at Northcott.
The Surry Hills block housed psychiatric patients, prison parolees and financially disadvantaged HIV sufferers.
Andrei Akai was one of the latter, and by 2000 his condition had advanced to full-blown AIDS.
Residents living near the ninth-floor flat the men shared in Northcott’s B block could not remember seeing Akai after about January or February 2001, and was not caring for his beloved Alsatian dog Rajah.
In August that year, neighbour Jillian Nash reported her concerns to NSW Police who searched Akai’s flat, which had been ransacked and was stained and smeared with blood.
Akai’s disability pension was still active, and police found recent withdrawals from his St George Bank account totalling $1650.
The notorious Northcott flats in Surry Hills block housed residents including psychiatric patients, prison parolees and financially disadvantaged HIV sufferers
The amount of drugs ingested by Peters at ‘Suicide Towers’, which is infamous for drug use (above) and violence, would have caused him ‘anxiety, paranoid ideation and violence’
Damien Peters (above, after his 2019 arrest) murdered his first lover after he was called ‘stupid’ and the second after a fight with the man he claimed had treated him as a ‘battered wife’
Detectives were able to identify the man making the withdrawals from ATM security camera footage and took 32-year-old Peters in for questioning.
He admitted withdrawing the money, but said Akai had given him his bank card to look after the flat and their dog while he took ‘a break’ from the Northcott flats.
He said he had been ‘tearing my hair out’ at Akai’s extended absence, and ripped apart the flat, cutting his hand on the broken window and spilling his own blood inside.
He complained about nursing Akai through HIV, and getting infected with the virus.
Police charged Peters with obtaining money by deception and he returned to another Northcott flat he was living in with his ‘best friend’, Bevan.
A police listening device recorded a conversation between the concerned neighbour who had alerted them and Peters, in which he admitted killing Akai and was worried police would arrest him.
On September 7, 2001, detectives knocked on the door of Unit 3 in A block rented by Bevan James Frost, but he refused to let them in.
When they returned four days later, on September 11, Damien Peters let them in to the flat, which was in disarray.
Police found two ransacked flats in Northcott when investigating Andrei Akai’s disappearance, but although they recovered Bevan Frost’s remains, Mr Akai’s were never fully recovered
Peters appeared dazed and agitated to the officers, who were unaware of the colossal amount of illegal and prescription drugs he had been on.
He was also self-administering intramuscular injections of the steroids Sustanon, Nandrolone and Durabolin, and two days earlier had injected 250 milligrams of crystal methamphetamine.
Police told Peters he was under arrest for the murder of Tereaupii Akai, and began to search the ransacked premises.
Blood was smeared on the carpet and walls and a pattern of blood on the mattress formed the outline of the upper torso of a body.
In the bathroom, the officers found a decapitated and eviscerated body in the bathtub and beside it in a bag was a severed head.
The police did not think the body could be Akai’s, and Peters admitted it belonged to Bevan Frost, who he had killed two days earlier after ‘a fight’.
The officers found a 32cm bloodstained carving knife, and Peters eventually admitted he had killed Akai eight months previously after he had called Peters ‘stupid’.
Damien Peters is arrested in Petersham (above) after cutting off his satellite tracking anklet and breaching his parole by substance abuse and was returned to prison to serve his full sentence
Andre Akai was Peters’ first victim and his remains were gradually disposed of, being placed in bins and skips on the grounds of Northcott, leaving little for police to find
He claimed Akai had conned him into sleeping with him, infected him with HIV and gonorrhoea, and was violent, moody, abusive and belittling.
It was subsequently determined that Akai’s mood swings had likely been a result of an AIDS dementia complex.
Peters admitted he was ‘revved up’ when he went to the kitchen to get a knife and stabbed Akai twice in the neck while he was sitting on the lounge.
He placed Akai’s body on the floor of the bathroom and spent the next six hours removing his organs and flushing them down the toilet, along with the teeth, to prevent identification.
For the same reason, he also burnt off the hair with peroxide and chemicals.
Over successive days, he had cut up the body with a hacksaw and disposed of the various parts, concealed in plastic bags or suitcases, and into garbage bins over several weeks.
Peters (above in 2019) is now applying to be released from prison at the end of his maximum sentence on more than 50 conditions, but the state wants him to remain behind bars because of the risk to the community
The Northcott towers have been the scene of drug use, suicides and the grisly murders carried out by Damien Peters in 2001 against two lovers he murdered and then mutilated
A pharmacology professor later estimated Peters had been on a daily dose of 100mg of methadone, plus a weekly steroid injection, and had been smoking cannabis and shooting up methamphetamine ‘ice’ for days.
Peters said after killing Akai, he had not slept for nine days and continued to dispose of Akai’s body parts, and bleach the bloodied carpets.
When finally he came to his senses, he realised he had ‘loved’ Akai and contemplated suicide, but instead just ‘existed’ for another six months, during which he ‘trashed’ the flat.
After police searched the flat, its locks were changed and he was forced to move in with Frost, and in return had submitted himself to sex with Frost, who he claimed was ‘very rough’ despite being 57 years old and in frail condition.
Peters told police he had been extremely drugged, depressed and lost his reasoning when he stabbed Frost, who was lying on his front expecting a massage.
Over the next two days, he had partially disembowelled Frost’s body, flushing the internal organs down the toilet, leaving the torso and head.
Inside the Northcott towers, residents have had to endure drug use, vandalism and violence in the block which houses addicts and jail parolees among its other occupants
Andrei Akai’s remains were never fully recovered and Peters later claimed he needed ‘the forgiveness’ of Akai’s family in order ‘to be able to move on’
Peter pleaded guilty to the murders but said he had the equivalent of ‘battered wife syndrome’ and was ‘not a violent man’.
His barrister Kate Traill, who has since become a District Court judge, said he should not be given a life sentence for the murders, because he already had a reduced lifespan with HIV.
Peters said he tried to leave Mr Akai several times but was always manipulated into staying at their unit.
His remains were never fully recovered and Peters later claimed he needed ‘the forgiveness’ of Akai’s family in order ‘to be able to move on’.
A forensic pharmacologist professor said Peters large and diverse drug intake would have caused ‘anxiety, paranoid ideation, irritability, emotional lability and violence, and impaired mental functioning’.
Andrei Akai vanished from the ninth floor of Northcott’s B block (above) after which Peters systematically dismembered the body and placed parts in dumpsters outside the building
Peters lived in B block of Northcott (above) with Akai, who was dying from HIV, and when police came to investigate the New Zealander’s disappearance they found another body in the bathtub
Psychiatrics reports tendered to the NSW Supreme Court said Peters had a dysfunctional childhood as the fourth child to his high achieving father, difficulties at school and attention deficit disorder.
But Justice James Wood accepted pleas of guilty to murder rather than manslaughter, and ruled that Peters had dismembered the victims’ bodies in a ‘deliberate and cold-blooded way’.
Peters’ actions attempting to clean Akai’s flat, destroying dental or fingerprint remains, accessing Akai’s pension money and carrying on a charade that his lover was still alive were ‘very callous’.
They were the actions of a man ‘cerebrating relatively clearly … despite his continuing abuse of drugs’.
‘They also speak of a man lacking, at that time, in much, if anything, in the way of remorse or insight into what he had done,’ Justice Wood concluded.
‘However, I accept (Peters) was provoked to a degree by … (a) pattern of physical and mental abuse and … by sexual manipulation or abuse.’
He sentenced Peters to a maximum 21 years prison, dating from September 11, 2001.
Peters was released on parole in November 2016 but after tearing off the satellite anklet in April 2019, he was returned to custody, from where he has now applied for conditional release.
Justice Lonergan will hand down her decision on Peters this week.