A man who hated his ex-partner’s mother told her “I’m gonna do you in” before he recruited a hitman to kill her, a jury has been told.
Prosecutor Brett Hatfield told a Supreme Court jury in Newcastle on Tuesday the victim, Stacey Klimovitch, had defiantly replied “go your hardest” to Stuart Campbell before she was shot dead three months later.
Stephen Garland, the alleged getaway driver for the hitman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder and an alternative charge of being an accessory after the fact to the murder.
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During his opening address, the prosecutor said Garland had been involved in the “premeditated and targeted shooting murder” of Klimovitch, who died from a single gunshot wound to the chest after answering the front door of her Stockton home on June 9, 2021, just after 8pm.
Hatfield said Campbell had been in a dysfunctional relationship with Klimovitch’s daughter, Alexandra, and he was ultimately excluded from his son’s birth in March 2021 and not named as the father on the child’s birth certificate.
When Alexandra was in hospital after giving birth, Campbell went to their home in Argenton and kicked in the front screen door before going to the back of the house and destroying the garden, stomping on plants and kicking things over.
Stacey Klimovitch died at the scene. Credit: Facebook
The prosecutor said Campbell confronted Klimovitch and told her “I’m gonna do you in”.
Klimovitch replied “go your hardest”, before Campbell left.
When Alexandra returned home with the baby, she sent Campbell a message telling him he could come see his son as long as he braved her mother, who was not happy with him.
Klimovitch then invited Campbell out on to the front verandah to have a chat and asked him why he was making Alexandra beg for the rent every fortnight.
Campbell told her she should relax and stop stressing before Klimovitch slapped him across the face.
The prosecutor said Klimovitch then told Campbell he could go in and see his son, which he did before leaving.
Campbell went to police to report being slapped but declined to make a formal statement and no charges were laid against Klimovitch.
The relationship between Campbell and Alexandra continued to deteriorate, and she decided to move in with her mother at Stockton.
Hatfield said Campbell’s motive for having Stacey Klimovitch murdered was because of the “significant animosity” he had developed towards her.
Campbell was determined to have her killed and recruited the hitman to be the shooter and Garland to be the getaway driver, the court was told.
When Garland was later arrested, he told police he did not know a murder was going to take place.
Hatfield told the jury Garland and the alleged hitman had participated in “a joint criminal enterprise” with Campbell to murder Klimovitch.
The alleged hitman will stand trial separately at a later date.
Hatfield said Campbell had also been charged with murder but died before standing trial.
The trial involving Garland continues on Wednesday.
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