Duo jailed for killing beloved father in home invasion


Two men who murdered a much-loved Sydney father during a home invasion committed to steal thousands of dollars in cash will spend at least 15 years behind bars.

In May, a jury found John Hicks, 34, and Samir Chamma, 30, guilty of robbing and murdering 49-year-old father-of-two Warwick Hunter.

The men committed the opportunistic robbery with a third man after being told Mr Hunter had a large sum of cash at his home at Toongabbie, in western Sydney.

The trio arrived at Mr Hunter's home late in the evening of November 15, 2020, with Chamma ripping off the screen door before the group entered.

Mr Hunter, who weighed less than 50kg, attempted to run to his bedroom but Hicks caught up.

He stabbed the victim multiple times in the torso and leg before the trio fled with around $9000 in cash.

Soon after, Mr Hunter died outside his house while seeking help.

Victim impact statements provided to the court showed Mr Hunter was a dearly loved and missed father who had a passion for family, music, dance, animals and plants.

NSW Supreme Court judge Sarah McNaughton said the brutal offence had been committed for financial gain, but there was limited planning involved.

"This was a sustained, ferocious and vicious attack on a man in his own home where he was entitled to feel safe and secure," she said.

"Instead he was attacked and left to die."

Both Hicks and Chamma had criminal records and were not eligible for leniency. 

But Justice McNaughton found Hicks' culpability in the crime was reduced by his exposure to violence from an early age, mild intellectual disability, personality disorder and substance abuse.

No such consideration could be taken into account for Chamma, who had grown up with a strict Muslim father who did not permit drugs or alcohol.

However, because he was not the one who stabbed Mr Hunter, the 30-year-old was morally less responsible for the crime.

Both men denied their involvement, but multiple phone taps recorded their admissions of the crime to various people.

Justice McNaughton detailed Hicks' difficult childhood and said he was raised in an environment where violence and criminality were common.

But she said his lack of remorse was a consideration in his prospects of rehabilitation.

"There is no basis to find offender Hicks' prospects for rehabilitation anything other than guarded," she said.

In contrast, Justice McNaughton found Chamma had made positive changes to his life following his arrest, such as continued abstinence from drugs and maintained connections with his family.

"There are some indications that he may have some real prospects of rehabilitation," she said.

Hicks was sentenced to 23 years' imprisonment with a non-parole period of 16 years, while Chamma received 21 years with a non-parole period of 15 years and nine months.