Bruce Delany, a survivor of prostate and bowel cancer, was preparing to put flowers on his wife’s grave when an armed robber broke into his country NSW home and stabbed him to death.
His killer, Shane Thomas McKellar, 35, was sentenced on Thursday in the NSW Supreme Court to a minimum of 22 years imprisonment.
Mr Delany was 81 years old when McKellar – armed with a knife, golf club and a pair of scissors – broke into his home in Bourke on May 21, 2011 and demanded money.
But after Mr Delany gave him $50, McKellar said “I don’t care, I’m still going to kill you” and stabbed him in the abdomen three times, Justice Richard Button told the court.
McKellar also left behind the $50 the Mr Delany had given him.
“Mr Delany, grievously wounded, was heartlessly left to die while the offender fled,” Justice Button said.
Later that day, McKellar told two friends, “I stole all the money and stabbed the old man. I’m in deep s***.”
The court heard the 35-year-old has been diagnosed as schizophrenic and near the “mildly retarded range”.
His use of prohibited drugs has exacerbated his mental illness.
“The motive for the robbery was a selfish desire to obtain a paltry sum of money for drugs,” said the judge.
At the time of his death, Mr Delany had been preparing for a trip around Australia, which he had postponed because he wanted to put fresh flowers on his wife Heather’s grave, something he did every weekend.
Luke Abbott, Mr Delany’s son-in-law, said the family had known McKellar, who was on parole at the time for robbing an 85-year-old local hotel owner, since he was young.
“Bruce lost his life for nothing. If the parole board had done their job, this man would never have died,” he said.