The 20-year-old accused of attacking and killing his 69-year-old grandmother in Bega appeared briefly in the Batemans Bay courthouse on Sunday, charged with one count of murder and two counts of wounding with intent to murder.
With cuts on his face and wearing a hospital robe and shorts, Murray Deakin was led into the courtroom for the brief appearance following Friday night’s alleged incident. His grandfather was also stabbed.
As police officers went to lead Mr Deakin out of court, he said: “I’m sorry” — but it was unclear what this related to.
The ABC has learned Murray Deakin had been living with his grandparents, Gail and Thomas Winner, in their East Street home.
Police allege he attacked the couple with a knife on Friday afternoon, leading to a frantic search around the NSW far south coast town.
About 3.35pm a passing motorist was flagged down by a 71-year-old man, later identified as Mr Winner.
Witnesses said they saw a man lying on the ground, covered in blood and desperately trying to flag down help.
When emergency services arrived, they found Mr Winner and Mrs Winner, who was critically injured.
She died in hospital after the attack, while Mr Winner is in a critical condition at Canberra Hospital.
The 20-year-old was arrested on Friday night after a large-scale hunt in the town of Bega.
He had allegedly escaped in the couple’s car and police took off after him, warning local residents to stay inside during the search.
About an hour later at Bournda, the young offender struck a 55-year-old male driver over the head with a hammer and stole his car, police allege.
That victim was airlifted to Sydney’s St George Hospital and a hospital spokeswoman said he remained in a critical condition in the intensive care unit on Saturday evening. A female passenger escaped unharmed.
The 20-year-old was arrested when he fled into bushland and was taken to hospital for assessment.
The Daily Telegraph reported the grandfather told police his grandson was schizophrenic. However, Inspector Sue Charman-Horton wouldn’t say if mental health issues or drugs were a factor.
“At this stage we just knew he was unwell and he certainly needed to be looked at,” she said.
Bega residents have expressed shock and say the town isn’t known to have a violence problem.
A local, Bob Russell, said he and wife Judy arrived on the scene after the fact and saw the man lying on the footpath with “blood everywhere”.
“Normally it’s a pretty quiet place,” he said.
“We’re only normally on the map for the Bega cheese, not for all the bad things.”
Bega woman Rebecca Lupton said she did not know what to tell her daughter.
“We have been trying to think of what to tell her about why there is a policeman outside our house,” she said.
“Spun her a yarn this morning about someone getting hurt but not saying that there was somebody else responsible.
“She’s five, and you don’t want to make her afraid of coming outside.”
Ms Lupton added that they normally do not lock their doors, which Mr Russell echoed.
Stabbing attack the start of a spree
Road blocks were put in place and an extensive search began after the stabbing, and South Coast police officers were soon in a car chase with a 20-year-old man, who was driving the couple’s car.
An hour after emergency services became aware of the initial incident, a 55-year-old man was allegedly hit in the head with a hammer by the 20-year-old during a carjacking on Sapphire Coast Drive at Bournda, 20 kilometres south of the initial attack.
The car was crashed 500 metres down the road, with the driver escaping into bushland.
At 8.20pm on Friday, a 20-year-old man was arrested and taken to Bega Police Station before being moved to South East Regional Hospital.
South Coast Police District detectives, assisted by the State Crime Command’s homicide squad, are investigating the incident.