By Benita Kolovos/The Age
Maybe someone spilt a drink, threw a glass or got shoved but none of it mattered much. For Deni Dimovski the party ended when a knife was thrust through his heart.
The 32-year-old was stabbed twice with a kitchen knife by Milos Novakovic during a brawl at the Korzo Grill House restaurant in Caroline Springs in September 2017.
As the night was winding up, Novakovic and some friends got into the fight with another group of men including Mr Dimovski, who was co-hosting a Balkan music event.
Victorian Supreme Court Justice Michael Croucher described the scenario as “mayhem” but said its cause was unclear.
“It seems that the violence erupted over something as trivial as a spilled drink or a glass thrown, a dose of bad manners and far too much testosterone,” he said during sentencing.
People were shoved, punched and put in headlocks, while furniture was knocked over and chairs and bottles were thrown before Novakovic and his mates were told to leave.
On his way out, Novakovic kicked the door of the restaurant and yelled: “I’m gonna kill him”.
The group then broke into the restaurant through the kitchen, where Novakovic attacked Mr Dimovski until he was on the floor.
He grabbed a kitchen knife off a bench and stabbed Mr Dimovski in the arm and, fatally, in the chest.
Novakovic, 31, was arrested the next day trying to leave the country. On August 23, he was jailed for 20 and a half years with a minimum of 15 years.
The court heard Serbian-born Novakovic came to Australia as a refugee having grown up in a war zone in Bosnia where his father had been killed in the fighting.
After arriving in Australia he became the man of the house, working from age 13 to support his family.
Justice Croucher said Novakovic had shown remorse for his crimes and was unlikely to reoffend.
Outside court, Mr Dimovski’s aunt Mary Dimcevska said while justice was served, nothing will bring back her nephew.
“Their pain is never going to go away,” she said of the victim’s parents.
In June, Novakovic’s friends Sasa and Milan Jovic were jailed for 18 months and 16 months respectively for their role in the brawl.