A man accused of murdering his brother-in-law in Perth has claimed it was self-defence, despite an elaborate escape in which he fled Australia and evaded police for more than a decade.
Anthony Carl Prestidge is on trial in the West Australian Supreme Court charged with the wilful murder of Andy Arthur Ball on September 10, 2002.
In her opening address, prosecutor Linda Petrusa said Mr Ball's body was found on September 12, 2002, under some bed sheets in the kitchen at his home with only his feet poking out.
A post mortem examination revealed he had died from a severe head injury with extensive fracturing of the skull and some brain injury, she said.
He had been struck with "a large degree of force" to the back of the head and had been lying on the floor bleeding when he was struck a second time, she said.
Ms Petrusa alleged Prestidge committed the murder and then fled to the Perth International Airport where he made a call to a friend saying he would meet up with them soon, only to instead board a flight to Bali moments later.
She said his actions demonstrated a consciousness of guilt.
Mr Ball, who was then 24, had been married for four years to Prestidge's sister, Angela, and they had two children.
But the relationship was both mentally and physically abusive, and Ms Ball had been hospitalised in 2001 for a broken cheek bone, a fact she shared with her brother when he came from London to visit them in August 2002, Ms Petrusa said.
After talks with her brother, Ms Ball decided to finally leave her husband in September 2002.
Before his death, Mr Ball had told some neighbours that if anything happened to him it would be Prestidge's fault, Ms Petrusa said.
Defence lawyer Helen Prince argued that while Mr Ball's death was a tragedy, her client had acted in self-defence when Mr Ball came to him with a knife believing Prestidge was having an affair with his own sister.
Mr Ball had thought Prestidge was going to tear his family apart and that his wife was going to take his children overseas, Ms Prince said.
"Tony will always have to live with that," she said.
There was a difference between criminal responsibility and moral responsibility, Ms Prince said.
The fact that Prestidge had fled did not indicate a consciousness of guilt over the crime, and the fact that he covered the body with sheets indicated some care for the victim, she said.
The trial continues.