Trial begins in Australia of Donegal men accused of murder

Nathan Kelly and Christopher McLaughlin

The trial has begun in Australia of two Donegal men accused of murdering a 66 year old man in Sydney.

Nathan Kelly and Christopher McLaughlin are alleged to have murdered Paul William Tavelardis in the Summer Hill area of the city in December 2018.

The men, both originally from the Inishowen area, had been charged previously with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm but police upgraded the charge to murder after the man died in hospital a few days later.

According to News.com.au, the opening hours of the trial heard claims of how a night out ended in the fatal assault of Mr. Tavelardis.

They have pleaded not guilty to murder and will argue they never intended to kill the man.

Crown prosecutor Tony McCarthy told the court the duo’s level of intoxication would be a key issue as the prosecution attempted to prove their intent to cause serious harm to Mr Tavelardis.

The court heard Mr Kelly told police in an interview he and Mr McLaughlin confronted Mr Tavelardis after they saw him trying to break into the latter's ute, with the stranger hitting him in the back with a metal pipe.

He told police he consumed more than a dozen drinks over the course of the night, and that he “hated himself” for how the situation escalated, the court heard.

His barrister David Campbell, SC, told the court his client “vehemently denied” assaulting the victim after he fell to the ground.

Mr McLaughlin's barrister Margaret Cunneen, SC, said Mr McLaughlin never intended to kill Mr Tavelardis.

"A threat emerged from the dark and in reacting to that threat there was no intent to inflict grievous bodily harm on that man," she said.

The trial continues.