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NSW: Man pleads guilty to manslaughter over water rage attack

By Katelyn John
15 Dec 2008 3:23 PM

SYDNEY, Dec 15 AAP - A Sydney man who bashed a retiree he wrongly accused of ignoring water restrictions has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Todd Munter, 37, of Caringbah, punched 66-year-old Ken Proctor in the face as he was watering his roses at Sylvania in October last year, at a time when he was legally entitled to do so.

Mr Proctor allegedly turned the hose on Munter, after being called a "stupid old goat" for disregarding water restrictions, prompting a physical altercation.

After punching Mr Proctor in the face, Munter pushed him to the ground where he landed with such force his head bounced once on impact.

Munter then kicked him as he tried to stand.

A passing off-duty police officer placed Munter under arrest and was questioning him when Mr Proctor collapsed.

He suffered a massive heart attack and died a short time later in hospital.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Monday, Munter pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a plea deal with prosecutors.

Asked by Justice Roderick Howie why Munter was not pleading guilty to murder, crown prosecutor Terry Thorpe said Mr Proctor's death was the result of a heart attack.

"There was a verbal argument on the street, on the nature strip ... there was a blow struck to the deceased by the offender which precipitated a heart attack," Mr Thorpe told the court.

The court had previously been told that at the time of the attack Munter was extremely unwell and heavily medicated for a serious back injury sustained at work in 2003.

He had earlier that day seen his orthopaedic surgeon, who recommended immediate surgery after a screw had come loose in a metal cage protecting his spine.

When Mr Proctor lost consciousness, Munter immediately went to his assistance and administered CPR "almost to the point of collapse", Munter's lawyer's have told the court.

Mr Proctor retired six years ago from Sutherland Shire Council, where he worked for 28 years driving a truck for the civil works and parks department.

His strong work ethic earned him the nickname Bradman, because once he was in the truck, it was hard to get him out.

He left behind a wife, a son and daughter and his one-month-old grandchild.

Munter's conditional bail has been extended until March 6, when the court will hear sentencing submissions.

Justice Howie told Munter he was only being granted bail "because the crown doesn't oppose it".

Munter refused to talk to reporters outside court.