Bitter love triangle killer jailed for 20 years

Mark Russell |

A judge said there had been a deep, personal animosity between two men that ended in murder.
A judge said there had been a deep, personal animosity between two men that ended in murder.

A man who murdered a carpenter over a bitter love triangle where both men believed they were the father of a baby boy has been jailed for 20 years.

Newcastle Supreme Court Justice Sarah McNaughton said there had been a deep, personal animosity between Kevin Smith and Daniel Pettersson that ended tragically in murder.

A jury in September found Smith, 39, guilty of murdering Mr Pettersson, 34, after stabbing him once in the chest with a large hunting knife on January 6, 2022, at suburban Jesmond.

Smith, jailed for 20 years with a minimum of 15 years, admitted stabbing Mr Pettersson but claimed it was self-defence.

Justice McNaughton on Tuesday said Smith had been in an on and off relationship with a woman between 2016 and the day of the murder while Mr Pettersson had been seeing the woman between August and December 2019.

When Mr Pettersson and the woman separated, he moved to Queensland.

The woman found out a few months later she was pregnant and told Smith he was the father before giving birth in July 2020. Smith was present at the birth.

Mr Pettersson returned to Newcastle in May 2021 and moved into the new house he had bought when the woman contacted him to tell him he might be the baby boy’s father.

He decided to take a paternity test and during this time the woman would sometimes stay with him despite being in a relationship with Smith, also known as Squid.

Smith was arrested in June 2021 for alleged domestic violence against the woman and issued with an apprehended domestic violence order to stay away from her. He remained in custody until being released on bail on December 14.

In August 2021, the DNA test proved Mr Pettersson was the boy’s biological father and Smith found out while he was in jail he had been lied to about paternity.

“Both men were upset (the woman) had been deceptive to them about being the father,” Justice McNaughton said.

“They were also upset she had been intimate with another male when they believed they were in a relationship with her.”

Justice McNaughton said Mr Pettersson went to police in October 2021 to report the woman, pregnant with his second child, had assaulted him, verbally abused him and threatened the unborn child.

The judge said Smith had made several threats towards Mr Pettersson, including threats to kill him, while Mr Pettersson had also threatened Smith, telling the woman “it was on” if he ever found Smith at her place.

Smith was with the woman on January 6, 2022, at the Jesmond house when an aggressive, upset Mr Pettersson pulled up outside about 3.34pm.

Mr Pettersson had called the woman 17 times and her father seven times as he wanted to see his son before deciding to drive to her home.

There was a confrontation in the kitchen between the two men and Mr Pettersson was stabbed once in the chest.

The woman helped him outside and he told her, “If I die, I love you”.

Mr Pettersson died at the scene.

Justice McNaughton said Smith, a heavy drug user with a lengthy criminal record who claimed to have been abused by a local priest from the age of 10 to 13, had shown no remorse but had not intended to kill Mr Pettersson, finding the stabbing was unplanned and spontaneous.