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Man admits Cessnock backyard killing in 4WD


A man has pleaded guilty to running over and killing another man in his victim’s own backyard in the Hunter region.

Joshua Walker Smith had been due to stand trial for murder in the Newcastle Supreme Court on Monday before the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions agreed to accept his guilty plea to the manslaughter of Ewan Sams, 36, at Cessnock on September 25, 2018.

Smith was accused of running down Mr Sams in the victim’s backyard in Edith Street with a four-wheel drive at about 11pm.

Police claimed Smith drove a Nissan Patrol 4WD into the backyard and pinned Mr Sams against a shed, causing fatal injuries.

Smith and Mr Sams had reportedly been dating the same woman and Smith was alleged to be jealous of his love rival.

Justice Stephen Rothman said on Monday he was aware of the issues in dispute if the case had gone to trial and he believed the DPP’s decision to accept Smith’s guilty plea to the lesser charge of unlawful killing was a proper one.

“It is always difficult in cases such as this to prove intent,” Justice Rothman said.

“The plea arrangement is most appropriate.”

A sentence hearing will take place on Thursday.

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