Family to killer: ‘How could you?’

The family of Adrian Trett, whose fatally injured body was found abandoned on a footpath at Mannum, has tearfully told how his killer fronted up to his funeral, shook their hands and offered condolences.

Stephanie Bishop, Mr Trett’s daughter, told the District Court in Adelaide on Friday it was “excruciatingly disappointing and devastating” that her father’s death in May 2018 became a cold case.

Nearly two years after Mr Trett died, his friend, Glen Kerry Patterson, was finally charged with his manslaughter. He has pleaded guilty.

“To think how you had the audacity to come to the funeral … makes me so sick,” Ms Bishop told the court in a victim impact statement.

“I just don’t understand – how could you?

“How could you do what you did and have the nerve to approach, shake our hands, speak with us about how much you loved him?”

Mr Trett, who had suffered a serious head injury, was found unconscious and wrapped in blankets on a footpath in the Murraylands town in April 2018.

The 45-year-old was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital but died 12 days later.

“The picture of my dad laying in a hospital bed, almost unrecognisable due to the horrific injuries he suffered at the hands of someone he called a friend is absolutely disgusting and beyond heartbreaking,” Ms Bishop said.

“I simply have no other words to describe it.”

Reading a letter of apology to the court, an emotional Patterson said he was “supposed to be (Mr Trett’s) mate” but, instead, punched him and failed to seek help.

The 51-year-old said he did not realise the extent of Mr Trett’s injuries when he left him “less than 50 metres” from a hospital.

“There is nothing I can say or do to change this, nor can I seek forgiveness for this unforgivable injustice,” he said.

“I am so very sorry this has happened … I struggle to find words for the enormity of my remorse and my regret.

“I ask myself over and over: how could I have done this to him? I was supposed to look after him, I was supposed to be his mate.”

Prosecutor Ryan Williams said Mr Trett’s actions were made more serious by the fact that he abandoned the injured man.

“As far as (Patterson) knew, at the time of making that decision, his actions could have saved the victim,” he said.

Judge Ian Press remanded Patterson in custody until a date to be fixed.

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