Traumatised son of murdered retiree wishes he’d earned more so his father didn’t have to live in public housing where he met his killer
- Narelle Fiona Smith murdered neighbour Peter McCarthy
- His son became depressed and now doesn’t trust world
- Case adjourned to consider Smith’s sentence
The son of a retired solicitor beaten to death in his Sydney home by his neighbour has told a court he no longer trusts the world, is afraid to leave the house and wishes he’d earned more so his father didn’t have to live in public housing.
Narelle Fiona Smith, 48, was found guilty of murdering Peter McCarthy, 77, following a trial in November, 2022.
His son, James McCarthy, told a NSW Supreme Court sentence hearing on Friday he has become depressed, suicidal and agoraphobic since his father’s murder in December 2020.
‘I don’t trust the world anymore,’ Mr McCarthy told the court.
The grief is a life sentence and has left him requiring increased psychiatric therapy and medication, which the family struggle to afford and which Mr McCarthy’s wife has to administer.
‘I can’t be trusted not to attempt to overdose,’ he said.
Narelle Fiona Smith was found guilty of beating her neighbour to death with a frying pan
Mr McCarthy said he wished he had been more successful in his own life so his father did not have to live in public housing at South Coogee in Sydney’s east, where he met the neighbour who killed him.
Smith pleaded not guilty and continues to deny her involvement.
She appeared via audiovisual link, shaking her head during submissions from the Crown that she had intended to kill Mr McCarthy, as he attempted to defend himself.
‘This was a brutal and savage attack on an elderly man in his own home,’ crown prosecutor Katharine Jeffreys said.
After inflicting significant facial injuries with a frying pan, breaking multiple bones and knocking out a tooth, Smith left the retiree’s body in an undignified state on the floor of his home, where it remained for several days, Ms Jeffreys submitted.
A deformed frying pan with a broken handle was found near his body, and DNA belonging to Smith was found in Mr McCarthy’s home and under his fingernails.
Not found at the home were his mobile phone, bank cards, cash and a travel card Smith took following the murder, which appeared to show no evidence of premeditation or motive, Ms Jeffreys said.
Retired solicitor Peter McCarthy (pictured) was found dead in his South Coogee home with severe head and facial injuries in December 2020
Smith’s barrister Sharyn Hall SC acknowledged her client’s continued denial meant she would likely receive a longer sentence than if she had shown remorse.
She urged the judge to find special circumstances due to Smith’s traumatic childhood.
‘She has a number of longstanding, entrenched issues which need to be addressed,’ she said.
While she can be treated in custody, the greater challenge for Smith will be reintegrating into the community, her barrister submitted.
‘Given her background, given her unstable lifestyle from a very young age … one wonders whether (she) has actually ever been fully integrated into society,’ Ms Hall said.
The judge noted her submission may have some force before adjourning to consider Smith’s sentence, which he will deliver at a later date.
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Peter McCarthy was last captured on CCTV at the Club York in Sydney’s CBD (pictured) on December 16 2020. He was found dead in his home four days later
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