April 22, 2024 2 min read


NSW Man on Trial for the Murder of a Frail Gambling Addict

The victim was a frail man struggling with severe asthma and gambling addiction

The trial of an Australian man who allegedly killed another over a gambling debt has begun. Stephen Staff appeared in the NSW Supreme Court at Wollongong on Monday but denied participating in the fatal beating.

The victim, Matthew Davis, 31, died after a fatal bashing and choking in his home in Lake Illawarra. Described as a frail man who suffered from chronic asthma and was “too sickly to work,” Davis passed away on August 21, 2021.

Investigators later examined CCTV footage and saw three men heading in the direction of Davis’ house on the night of the killing. Two of them returned 15 minutes later. The final man, believed to be Staff, remained at the house for five hours before leaving. When he departed, the third man was once again captured on CCTV and was seen carrying a heavy plastic bag believed to have been filled with Davis’ valuables.

According to the prosecution, Staff took Davis’ mobile phone, laptop, gaming console and modem from the latter man’s home.  

Davis Was Killed over a Gambling Debt, Prosecutors Say

Prosecutors said that the motive behind the fatal attack was not entirely clear. However, Davis was reported to have struggled with gambling addiction. Because of that, the prosecution told the 13-person jury that a gambling debt might be a possible reason for the murder.

This theory was further supported by the fact that he had asked his grandmother to borrow AUD 900 to pay off a gambling debt. His family was aware of his gambling habits and had agreed to give him the money but he never came to collect it.

The prosecution also pointed out that Staff, who initially denied being at Davis’ home, later told his family in recorded calls from prison that he and the other men were at the 31-year-old’s home to “give him a touch-up.”

Staff’s presence at Davis’ home was later confirmed by DNA analysis. The prosecution believed that Staff and the two men assaulted Davis over the alleged debts. This, the crown prosecutor said, can be confirmed by the fact that Staff’s DNA was found on the victim’s hood.

However, Staff’s lawyer alleged that the man did not participate in the fatal bashing. According to him, the police found Staff’s DNA on Davis’ body because the former man had tried to help his beaten friend after the bashing.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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