A man who killed his ex-partner’s Tinder date in a frenzied stabbing attack at a restaurant admitted in a statement of apology that he struggled to say sorry because he was “still angry at what happened to me”.
Alexander Villaluna has pleaded guilty to murdering Keith Collins, 53, and seriously wounding his estranged wife Jovi Pilapil, 39, after discovering them on a dinner date on March 30, 2016.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Villaluna had bought a hunting knife and camouflage from Surplus City in Parramatta three weeks earlier, and warned Ms Pilapil that she was lucky he was “letting [her] breathe”.
“Please don’t force me,” he said in an email.
But it was Mr Collins who took his last breaths at the Kangnam??? BBQ restaurant in Hornsby, leaving behind four children and three step-children.
Mr Collins and Ms Pilapil had been corresponding through the online dating website Tinder and their date at the Kangnam restaurant in Hornsby Westfield was their first face-to-face meeting.
At a sentencing hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday, Villaluna’s barrister Angus Webb read out a statement from the offender which declared in the first line that his first thought on being asked to apologise was “I can never do it because I’m still angry about what happened to me”.
But then he turned to the book of Romans and was inspired to express contrition by verses such as “Hate what is evil/ Do only what is good”.
He said he had committed the murder because he was “blinded by my love for her”.
“I spilt blood but I used to give blood,” his statement said.
“I had donated more than a gallon and saved lives.”
As the Supreme Court played CCTV footage of Villaluna repeatedly thrusting a knife into Mr Collins on Friday, the dead man’s son Thomas Collins stood up and leaned over the wooden partition that contains members of the public to stare his father’s murderer in the face.
Friends seated in the row behind Mr Collins attempted to pull him back to his seat by the lapels on his jacket, and the security guards inched towards the four metre space between the two men.
Villaluna never looked at Mr Collins, and never took his eyes off the screen.
But Mr Collins moved no closer to the man who killed his father and walked out of the court.
He had earlier told the court in a victim impact statement about the day that he learnt his father had died, forcing him to liquidate the packaging business to which the senior Mr Collins had devoted his life and layoff dozens of staff.
“All the while I had to plan a funeral and identify my dad’s body, which has been the single hardest thing that I have ever done,” Mr Collins said.
“He was so important to me that I made sure he was present when I proposed. The experience of getting married without my dad was something I never imagined.”
Villaluna, a nurse at Concord Hospital, had separated from Ms Pilapil four months before the attack on Mr Collins and she had taken out an apprehended violence order against him, according to the agreed facts.
The afternoon of the killing, he had visited her home to ask where she was, and discovering that she was out “with friends”, he had driven to Hornsby Westfield and discovered her car in the carpark.
He then wandered around the shopping centre and spotted her at a restaurant where they had dined together. It was empty, apart from Ms Pilapil and Mr Collins, and he walked up to their table and placed one hand on Mr Collins’ shoulder.
“What are you doing with my wife?” he said, and pulled out the hunting knife.
Villaluna stabbed Mr Collins until he fell to the floor, then stabbed Ms Pilapil in a punching motion against the wall.
She managed to flee the restaurant as he turned away, and he stabbed Mr Collins twice in the torso before leaving the premises.
It was, according to Crown prosecutor Gina O’Rourke, SC, “a sustained assault and brutal attack upon a defenceless, unarmed and unsuspecting man who he had never met … born out of jealousy, anger and the viciousness is clearly captured on the CCTV footage”.
Witnesses noted how calm Villaluna appeared as he walked away covered in blood.
He called one of Ms Pilapil’s relatives and told her what he had done, then returned to the restaurant and sat at a table near Mr Collins until the police arrived.
He will be sentenced on October 12.