Hammer attacks defendant’s alleged bizarre internet searches

A man accused of trying to bludgeon his roommate to death with a hammer allegedly searched the internet for ‘murder’, ‘mutilation’ and ‘abuse of victim’s genitals’ before attack, court heard .

Kevin Arden, 28, is on trial in NSW District Court on charges of drugging and beating his friend Harry Sumantri, to whom he allegedly owes a six-figure debt.

Mr Arden has pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to murder in the alleged May 2020 attack inside their Sydney CBD apartment.

The court heard that Mr Arden had not denied hitting his friend with a steel claw hammer, but was set to dispute several allegations, including that he had carried out dozens of internet searches on murders, dissections and police investigations.

Internet searches

Crown prosecutor Giles Tabuteau told the court that in the weeks leading up to the incident, Mr Ardern had used his phone to search for terms such as ‘how the police track a murderer’ and ‘this is how the police hunt down the bandits”.

According to the crown, his other research included: “how to prevent the putrid smell of raw meat”, “five ways to store meat in the refrigerator to make it durable and prevent odors”, “how to cut the man”, ” body autopsy process by the forensic team is revealed”, “how to dissect a human” and “what you see and feel when dissecting a corpse”.

The court also heard that he had searched for “medical examiner reveals violence to victim’s genitals”, “murder with mutilation”, “the attacker is cheating the police”, “can the police access your bank account” and “change the SIM card of the phone, the criminals are always tracked down”.

Camera iconHarry Sumantri is taken away by paramedics. Source: 7 News Credit: Channel 7

The alleged debt

The court heard the pair were friends who lived in the same room, divided by a makeshift partition, inside Sydney’s CBD unit.

They were among seven people who lived inside the two-bedroom Day Street apartment, several of whom slept in the living room.

The prosecution alleged that Mr. Sumantri loaned $52,000 to Mr. Arden to invest in a business selling hand sanitizer in Indonesia at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The court heard they had an agreement for Mr Arden to repay the loan, plus interest of around $28,000, by mid-May 2020.

The court also heard that he had loaned Mr Arden an additional $20,000, with Mr Arden explaining that he had a friend who needed the money in Australian dollars and that the amount would be repaid in Indonesian rupiah.

Mr. Sumantri had also lent him extra money because Mr. Arden, who was in Australia on a student visa, had lost his job at a cafe due to the pandemic and had also lost money gambling, according to the crown.

Mr. Tabuteau told the court that in all, Mr. Arden owed his roommate about $100,000.

According to the Crown filing, Mr. Ardern had also purchased several items that were found at the scene, including a hacksaw, a green shopping cart, disposable gloves and trash bags.

“There is a suggestion, it seems, that the items he bought at the store might have been necessary for him as an employee in cafes and restaurants,” Mr. Tabuteau said in his opening statement. to the jury.

“Employers will tell you that no one who works in a cafe needs to bring their own steel claw hammer, hacksaw blade, or bleach.”

Hammer attack victim Harry Sumantri
Camera iconHarry Sumantri claims he was drugged and beaten by Mr Arden. Source: 7 News. Credit: Channel 7

The alleged attack

The court heard that from November 2016 to February 2018, Mr Ardern also lost $49,000 gambling at Star Casino and around $20,000 with Oz Lotteries.

According to the Crown filing, Mr. Arden had given Mr. Sumantri a ginger drink fortified with doxylamine, an over-the-counter sleeping pill.

Mr Sumantri said he felt drowsy and fell asleep around 4pm and awoke to find Mr Arden standing over him hitting him with a hammer.

He turned on the bedroom light to see blood dripping down his shirt and Mr Ardern standing over him, according to the crown.

Hearing cries for help, one of their housemates forced his way into the room, pinning Mr Arden behind the door, allowing Mr Sumantri to escape, the prosecutor told the court.

Mr Sumantri suffered two fractures to his head, a broken left hand and cuts and abrasions in the incident.

The court heard footage of a camera worn by police on Mr Arden’s body at the scene telling officers: ‘I think he wants to kill me’.

Millennium Tower complex designed by Harry Triguboff in Day Street in Sydney's CBD.
Camera iconThe Day Street apartment where the alleged attack took place. Credit: News Corp Australia

“He hit him more than once”

Defense attorney Nicole Carroll said it was not denied that her client hit her roommate, but would dispute most of the surrounding circumstances, including the alleged debt and key events in their bedroom.

She also said that while Mr Arden agreed that the internet searches were done using his phone, he denied that he was the one doing them.

“Kevin Arden hit Harry Sumantri in the evening as described by the crown. And he hit him more than once,” Ms Carroll said.

“But when it happened, he didn’t intend to kill him. He didn’t intend to kill him.

The trial continues.