A jealous and violent tradesman upset his ex-partner was communicating with a male friend, pursued the man down a Sydney street and fatally stabbed him, a Sydney jury has heard.
Peni "Ben" Apikotoa, 34, bled to death on the doorstep of a St Clair home in August 2018 after Nathan Chatimba plunged a knife seven centimetres into his shoulder and severed a major artery.
Chatimba, now 33, has pleaded not guilty to murder, claiming he was struck first and acted in self-defence.
The friends began arguing when Mr Apikotoa arrived at the home of Cassie Sanders, concerned for her welfare, a NSW Supreme Court jury was told on Monday.
Ms Sanders had missed a call from Mr Apikotoa while in the presence of Chatimba, who then became suspicious about the nature of the relationship between his scaffolding colleague and his ex-partner.
"In short, he was jealous," crown prosecutor Gareth Christofi said in his opening address on Monday.
"Ms Sanders tried to explain to him she and the deceased were just friends."
But Chatimba didn't accept that and "pressed" Ms Sanders to return the call, allowing him to air his suspicions to Mr Apikotoa.
Mr Apikotoa, who'd been drinking a nearby pub, arrived at the Dutch Place home and was confronted in the driveway by the knife-wielding Chatimba.
While backing away and down the cul-de-sac, Mr Apikotoa suffered a six-centimetre wound to his chest and a seven-centimetre wound to his left shoulder which both proved fatal, Mr Christofi said.
Further cuts were found on Mr Apikotoa's hands, arms and back while blood trailed about 100 metres from Ms Sanders' driveway to the doorstep of the home where Mr Apikotoa died.
The jury is expected to hear the South Sydney football jersey Chatimba had been wearing was found inside a washing machine at his home, while his blood-smeared work boots were found in a bathroom next to baby wipes containing Mr Apikotoa's DNA.
But soon after he was arrested, Chatimba told police he'd been punched in the face by Mr Apikotoa, causing him to arm himself with a knife.
The jury are due to watch the police interview in which Chatimba says he held the knife "in a defensive pose hoping to ward off" Mr Apikotoa but "to his surprise" the man kept advancing in a "menacing fashion".
"You will hear the emotion in his voice after he is told Benny has died," barrister Tony Evers said.
Mr Evers said Chatimba didn't concede to being violent towards Ms Sanders previously but that's what she had told Mr Apikotoa.
The deceased man may have been a gentle person normally, but before arriving at Ms Sanders home he'd been drinking and heard an argument.
"Mr Apikotoa turned up in an aggressive frame of mind and no doubt thought he was doing the noble thing and protecting Ms Sanders," Mr Evers said.
"But, in doing so, he attacked the accused."
The trial resumes on Tuesday.
Australian Associated Press