A construction worker who stabbed another man to death after a “silly” brawl at an outer-Melbourne restaurant two years ago has been sentenced to 20 years and six months in prison.
- Milos Novakovic will not be eligible for parole for 15 years
- The sentencing judge said his victim was defenceless when he was killed
- The court heard Deni Dimovski’s mother visits his grave every day
Deni Dimovski, 32, was in the “prime of his life” when he was killed by Milos Novakovic, who was found guilty of murder.
On Saturday, September 9, 2017, Mr Dimovski had been hosting a party for about 50 guests at the Korzo Grill House restaurant in Caroline Springs, in Melbourne’s west, when Novakovic and others gate-crashed the event.
Justice Michael Croucher described the scene as “a convivial evening of Balkans singing and music, together with the consumption of a goodly amount of food and alcohol, [which] was winding up”.
“Things turned from silly to nasty to violent,” he said during Friday’s sentencing hearing in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The intruding men were ejected from the restaurant by the front door.
“There was … evidence that Mr Novakovic kicked the front door of the restaurant, causing damage to a glass panel, and that he yelled three times, ‘I’m gonna kill him’.”
Just after 2:00am they returned through the kitchen at the back of the premises in Gourlay Road, Caroline Springs.
“Mr Novakovic spontaneously grabbed a knife and stabbed Mr Dimovski twice — once to the chest, which killed him, and once to the arm, which did not contribute to death,” Justice Croucher said.
“Mr Dimovski was on his back, vulnerable and more or less defenceless against Mr Novakovic at the moment that he was fatally stabbed,” Justice Croucher said.
The court heard Novakovic was arrested the next day after he tried to flee Australia.
Novakovic had pleaded guilty to charges of affray and aggravated burglary.
Mother visits victim’s grave every day, court hears
Two of his co-accused, Sasa Jovic and Milan Jovic, were sentenced for affray and aggravated burglary in June.
Novakovic initially pleaded guilty to manslaughter but the jury found he was guilty of murder.
Deni Dimovski’s mother, Snezana Dimovska, still lives in his homeland of Macedonia and the court heard she visits his gravesite every day.
“She says that she was so shocked and saddened when told of her son’s death that she fell to the ground, went into a coma and was taken to hospital,” Justice Croucher said.
“She feels she will never get over the loss.”
Mr Dimovski had been living in Australia for three years after arriving in 2014 on a working holiday visa.
Novakovic was born in Bosnia, of a Serbian family, and lived through the civil war there in the 1990s.
He came to Australia after spending time in a refugee camp.
The court heard he had made a good life for himself in the construction sector, working as a plasterer.
He was starting his own excavation business when the murder happened.