A Sydney builder has denied murdering Elisha Karmas, who disappeared nearly seven years ago.A Sydney builder accused of murdering a neighbour has told a jury his later “ludicrous” writings about torturing the man were a form of therapy to deal with the stress he was under.
“I know it is my handwriting, but I just can’t believe what I was writing,” Elefterios “Terry” Fantakis testified in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The 43-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the August 2011 murder of 52-year-old Elisha Karmas, whose body has never been found.
Andrew Keith Woods, 41, and Derek Cheng, 26, have denied helping Fantakis dispose of the body and evidence.
The Crown alleges Fantakis developed a strong hatred for Mr Karmas, who was mediating in a financial dispute between Fantakis and Maria Angeles.
She previously was in a relationship with his identical twin brother Nick, who died in May 2011, and was making claims on his estate.
Under questioning from his lawyer, Iain Todd, Fantakis said he had not murdered Mr Karmas or caused him any harm whatsoever.
The Crown alleges Mr Karmas was killed on August 11, 2011, at a Punchbowl home, with his body disposed of in the Georges River near Campbelltown.
Fantatakis said on that day Mr Karmas offered to help him and Cheng do some work at the home.
“Suddenly Sam said ‘I have just remembered there is something I have to do. I have to leave’,” Fantakis said.
Later that evening, Fantakis said, he drove his blue van to meet up with Woods and they travelled to visit Woods’ grandmother where they stayed until about 1.30am.
They then left to go to the Campbelltown area to dispose of bags containing soil and cannabis – which was associated with his late brother Nick, Fantakis said.
On the way back he had some problems with the van, so he dropped it off at the mechanics and later he gave it “a quick clean with the hose” because it was so filthy.
The van was a “mess” particularly as a friend’s dog had been sick in it, he said.
When he was later accused of being a murderer and had numerous legal and police problems, Fantakis said he had a mental breakdown.
Mr Todd asked him about writings, which the Crown said suggested he had tortured Mr Karmas.
Fantakis denied torturing him but agreed it was in his handwriting.
He referred to a book about dealing with stressful situations which advised, no matter how crazy the ideas were, to “get it out as a form of therapy”, he said.
The trial continues.
Australian Associated Press