Benjamin Joshua George has been given a life sentence for the road rage murder of Troy McLean. Picture: Facebook
Benjamin Joshua George has been given a life sentence for the road rage murder of Troy McLean. Picture: Facebook

Road rage killer jailed for stabbing innocent driver

AN "IRRITABLE and explosive" driver who fatally stabbed a defenceless man will serve at least 20 years' jail, with a judge saying his drug addiction and mental health issues explain, but do not excuse, his murderous actions.

On Friday, the Supreme Court imposed a life sentence upon Benjamin Joshua George for the road rage murder of Troy McLean.

In sentencing, Judge David Lovell said George had "undoubtedly suffered" a dysfunctional life of "terrible and long-lasting" abuse, addiction and mental health issues, prior to the murder.

However, he noted George had also refused multiple offers of assistance, even lying to doctors to get discharged from hospital so he could return to his drug stash.

"I accept your choice to turn to illicit drugs has to be seen against that background, however not all survivors of abuse turn to drugs," he said.

"The choice to use drugs may explain, but it does not excuse, your actions."

George, 26, of Elizabeth East, pleaded guilty to murdering Mr McLean, who died from wounds inflicted at Waterloo Cnr Rd, Salisbury in 2017.

 

The judge said Benjamin George’s drug addiction and mental health issues were no excuse.
The judge said Benjamin George’s drug addiction and mental health issues were no excuse.

 

Affected by drugs, a lack of sleep and a decline in his mental health, George attacked Mr McLean with a knife following a minor car collision.

He stabbed Mr McLean in the front and the back, said "I warned you" and drove away.

Last month, Mr McLean's grieving family dubbed George a coward, while his counsel argued his personal problems made him "less morally culpable" than other murderers.

Justice Lovell took issue with that submission, noting George had been offered - and yet had refused to engage with - assistance for his mental health and homelessness.

On Friday, Judge Lovell said George had consumed methadone, methylamphetamine, heroin, cannabis, cough syrup and antidepressants in the lead-up to, and after, the murder.

He said he had been driving erratically, and on the wrong side of the road, before Mr McLean's car nudged his from behind - causing no damage at all.

He said what followed could not be considered "at the lower" end of the scale for crimes of murder.

 

Troy James McLean died as a result of the stab wounds inflicted by George. Picture: Supplied by Mr McLean’s family.
Troy James McLean died as a result of the stab wounds inflicted by George. Picture: Supplied by Mr McLean’s family.

 

"You were outraged ... without hesitation, and while holding a knife, you immediately stabbed him in the left upper abdomen," he said.

"Mr McLean had no opportunity to defend himself or get out of your way ... the knife pierced his heart, and this was the fatal wound.

"He tried to get away from you and you chased him ... at some stage you inflicted a second stab wound, this time to his back.

"You drove off, showing no concern ... Mr McLean tried to drive himself to hospital but collapsed on the way."

After the murder, Judge Lovell said, George made phone calls to friends saying he had "put a couple of holes" in Mr McLean, whom he called derogatory names.

He also told his GP he was "feeling irritable and explosive".

Judge Lovell said the "devastation" caused by George was "clear" and that, had there not been a guilty plea, he would have imposed a 22-year non-parole period.