Brian Liston, 51, had attended a German lesson on the evening of December 10, 2015 and was waiting for a bus on Salisbury Road in Camperdown when he was confronted by William Cahill, 34, who lived in a unit across the road.
Cahill, who had a history of chronic treatment-resistant schizophrenia including delusions, thought Mr Liston looked like the family member of a former housemate. He later told police he decided to yell at him. He put a knife into his pocket and went outside, stabbing Mr Liston multiple times and leaving him critically injured. Passers-by attempted to intervene, including one man who kicked Cahill in the back.
Mr Liston was taken to nearby Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where he died that evening despite extensive medical efforts.
In an opening statement on Monday, counsel assisting Donna Ward, SC, told the NSW Coroners Court that stories of human kindness and courage had emerged from the tragedy, with strangers coming to the aid of Mr Liston and trying to protect him.
“Before losing consciousness, Brian knew he wasn’t alone,” Ward said.
Mr Liston was the “blameless victim of an unprovoked attack”.
Donna Ward, SC
A funeral for the much-loved brother, son and uncle was held a few days before Christmas, when he should have been finalising shopping with his wife and preparing for the summer break with his two children.
Ward said Mr Liston was the “blameless victim of an unprovoked attack” and it “could have been any of us minding our business waiting for a bus that night”. She said the inquest would focus on Cahill, but it would also hear from Mr Liston’s family about what kind of person he was.
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