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AUSTRALIA: Airbnb Guest Murdered Over Unpaid Lodging Bill

By Published March 05, 2019

An Airbnb host accused of killing a guest who could not afford to pay at his home near Melbourne, Australia has pleaded guilty to manslaughter charge.

Jason Colton, 42, denies murder but pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ramis Jonuzi in October 2017.

A court heard two housemates held the 36-year-old man down, while Colton beat and strangled him for not paying the A$210 ($149) he owed them.

Colton says he only wanted to cause Jonuzi to pass out, not kill or seriously injure him.

Jonuzi, a bricklayer who had rented the room in Brighton East because he wanted a cheap and stable place to stay while he dealt with some "personal issues" rented the room from the three men - Colton, landlord Craig Levy and flatmate Ryan Smart - for three nights, but then asked to extend his stay for a week for A$210.

However, on the day he was to check-out, he had less than A$10 in his account and was therefore unable to pay.

The Supreme Court of Victoria heard that at 20:00 local time he had packed up his things, tidied his room and was about to leave, when the three men confronted him about the money.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson told the court that Colton was the first to attack Jonuzi: "He picked him up and threw him against the wall and started choking him."

Levy and Smart were alleged to have held their guest down, while Colton beat him until he lost consciousness. The housemates then allegedly dragged him out into the garden and continued the attack there.

Footage of the crime scene was played to the court, and showed Jonuzi half-naked and lying in front of the house with a visibly broken nose and bloodied face.

Colton denies knowing that his actions would be enough to kill or cause serious injury to his victim, saying that he only wanted to knock him unconscious.

He faces up to 20 years in jail even for manslaughter if convicted. Both Levy and Smart pleaded guilty to manslaughter in September last year. Smart received a nine-year jail sentence, while Levy was sentenced to seven and a half years.

In an earlier statement, Airbnb said it was "deeply saddened and outraged" by what had happened, and that it had removed the listing from its site.

"There is no place on Airbnb for such an abhorrent act, which violates everything our global community stands for," the company said.

Read 167 times Last modified on Wednesday, 06 March 2019 00:19