On the surface, John Graeme McKenzie was just a suburban cabinet maker, but he nurtured a twisted ambition to become a notorious serial killer.
The 22-year-old Victorian pored over murderous magazines and books, watched movies about serial killers and downloaded gruesome images from websites with names like Rotten and Celebrity Morgue.
On December 1, 2006, for no apparent reason but the fact he had found his flatmate’s hunting knife, the then 20-year-old stabbed his best mate in the chest.
Todd Leslie Laver, 26, was knifed in the chest and had his head and wrists slashed, as he entered McKenzie’s apartment after the two returned from a friend’s place.
Laver managed to escape but collapsed outside on Underwood Road, in the Melbourne suburb of Ferntree Gully.
He was assisted by a group of passersby but died about an hour later, at 1am on December 2, in The Alfred Hospital.
McKenzie was on Friday jailed for 20 years, with a minimum of 15, for the murder of his friend.
He had tried to take his own life with the knife after stabbing Laver, an action Victorian Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye said showed remorse but only for the situation he had found himself in.
Kaye said McKenzie had no reason whatsoever to kill Laver and the fact he did so was “utterly senseless and inexplicable”.
There was no evidence of an argument or fall out between the two.
McKenzie simply invited Laver into his home and brutally turned on him, Kaye said.
“You murdered him to satisfy your twisted desire to kill a fellow human being,” he said.
Kaye said the only explanation could be the morbid fascination McKenzie had developed with violence, killing and macabre images.
McKenzie had, since the age of 15, downloaded “grotesque and depraved” images from the internet, seized by police from his computer hard drive.
Police also found a note written by McKenzie when he was 19 in which he fantasised about becoming a notorious serial killer.
He listened to music by bands Slipknot, Dark Lotus and Insane Clown Possie, and downloaded lyrics to their songs called Stabbing, Still Stabbing, and Maniac Killa.
Psychologists and psychiatrists were unanimous in their position that at the time of the murder McKenzie was not suffering from any psychotic disturbance or mental illness.
Although McKenzie consumed alcohol and drugs, the substances did not play a role in the crime either, according to experts.
But Laver’s close friend Rachel Casey felt something was wrong with McKenzie, and she told her friend so.
“I told him not to hang around him, I just didn’t trust him (McKenzie),” Casey said through tears outside court today.
“He just gave me an eerie feeling, I didn’t like him, I didn’t like the company he kept, and I just knew something was going to happen.”
Laver was the only son of parents who adopted him 12 days after he was born.
“You have truly shattered the lives of Mr and Mrs Laver, destroyed their family unit, and visited on them immeasurable and indescribable suffering and loss,” Kaye said.