A giant chess piece was used to fend off an elderly man wielding a knife during an attack at Westfield Warrawong, a court has heard.
Albert Sovrano, 77, is accused of holding a hunting knife to a fellow chess player’s throat after tensions between the two players built up over the past eight years reached boiling point.
The Shell Cove man appeared before Port Kembla Bail Court on Wednesday to face charges of being armed with intent to murder, affray and common assault.
Sovrano is accused of packing a 25-centimetre hunting knife into a P&O Cruise bag before catching the bus to Westfield Warrawong just before 2pm and approaching a 59-year-old man at a chess board outside the centre.
He allegedly pulled the knife from the bag before holding it beneath the man’s ear and saying ‘‘I’ll kill you’’ several times.
After pushing Sovrano’s arm away, the man ran around the chessboard with the 77-year-old in pursuit, the court heard.
Police will allege the man then picked up a chess piece, using it to defend himself, before throwing it at Sovrano and running into the food court.
Still brandishing the knife, Sovrano gave chase, running past customers and following the victim as he darted between tables until security officers arrived, according to documents before the court.
After his arrest, Sovrano allegedly told officers, ‘‘If I had a gun I would shoot him like a pig.’’
Opposing bail, police prosecutor Sergeant Shannon Ryan said there was a risk Sovrano could commit further serious offences and there were risks to the safety of the victim and community.
He told the court the attack was premeditated and that the elderly man’s ‘‘hatred and hostility towards the victim’’ were unlikely to be satisfied by bail conditions.
‘‘The high degree of criminality suggests the lengths the accused is willing to go to, which is a concern to the community,’’ he said.
Defence lawyer Paul Payne said Sovrano had been bullied by the alleged victim over a period of six or seven years.
He told the court the men only knew each other from playing at the Westfield Warrawong chessboard and a bail condition he simply not attend the shopping centre would remove any risk of further contact.
Registrar Bruiceen Coulthard told the court she could not be confident such a condition would mitigate the risk to the alleged victim, given the attack was allegedly premeditated.
She refused Sovrano bail and adjourned the matter to January 5.
Story courtesy of The Illawarra Mercury