Terry Hickson is escorted to a prison van. Picture: file image
Terry Hickson is escorted to a prison van. Picture: file image

Punter found guilty of bookie's 1989 murder

AN ADMITTED petty thief has been found guilty of murdering a wealthy bookmaker in his Sydney garage three decades ago.

Terry John Gordon Hickson, now 60, had pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to murdering Charles Skarratt, 72.

The successful bookie was attacked and robbed of about $25,000 in the garage of his Woolwich home in December 1989 after returning from the Dapto greyhound races.

Hickson's blood was found on the bookie's sock and car boot.

After two days of deliberations, the jury returned a guilty verdict  on Thursday.

Hickson testified he'd been at the Dapto races that night and broken into the boots of several cars, "popping" them with a pinch bar or using various keys.

While he couldn't recall cutting himself and leaving his blood near Mr Skarratt's car boot lock, he said he must have cut his finger during the break-ins.

The defence contended the bookie could have touched the wet blood, which could have been transferred on to his sock while at the races.

The prosecutor submitted it was far more likely Hickson's blood got on to the sock when the bookie was being attacked, tied up and gagged in his garage before being stabbed.

Hickson's then-girlfriend, Tania Morsman, told the jury he had admitted stabbing the bookmaker during a robbery and "twisted" the knife in during a struggle.

Hickson had previously declared he was going to rob a bookmaker "because he needed money to pay for his barrister", Ms Morsman said.

"He would stalk the bookmaker on a Thursday evening and that happened at least a month or two before the robbery and murder," she said.

"He would go to the races and follow him home."

Ms Morsman said Hickson left her home after dinner on the night of December 21, 1989 with a bag containing equipment for the robbery.

"There was a balaclava, there was a pair of overalls and he had a knife in the bag as well," she said.

He returned after midnight wearing the overall,s which he gave her to wash, Ms Morsman said.

"There was a lot of blood coming out of the overalls when I was washing them," she said.

Justice David Davies adjourned the case to February 28 for a sentence hearing.