Australia

Victorian teen says he didn't intend Laa Chol's death

Laa Chol died in 2018. Source: Instagram

A boy who admits killing Melbourne teenager Laa Chol has denied he intended to do so and hopes a jury will convict him of the lesser crime of manslaughter.

Laa Chol was only 19 when emergency workers found her "pulse less" with a stab wound, having lost a lot of blood at a Melbourne city tower block during what was supposed to be a night of fun.

Her friends thought she was having an asthma attack when she stumbled back to the Airbnb apartment they'd rented for the weekend, then collapsed.

But Ms Chol had been stabbed while fighting a group of boys who'd turned up uninvited.

Her alleged killer, who was 17 at the time so cannot be named, has admitted stabbing her during a violent scuffle in the building's lift lobby.

But he hopes the jury will convict him of manslaughter rather than murder, and therefore receive a shorter jail term.

The youth faced the Supreme Court of Victoria on Monday for day one of his murder trial after Ms Chol's death in the early hours of 21 July last year.

His case hinges on a singular issue: Whether he intended or had the "state of mind" to kill or cause serious injury to Ms Chol when he inflicted an 8.5cm-deep wound to her chest, piercing her heart's right ventricle.

Prosecutor Kristie Churchill told the jury the accused's plea of guilty to manslaughter was "insufficient".

She said Ms Chol and her girlfriends had booked a city apartment for two nights and were getting ready for an evening out when more friends started arriving.

It was after 4am when one of the revellers went downstairs and came across a group of young males, Ms Churchill continued.

Five young males went upstairs to the apartment.

"The girls asked them to leave and a confrontation ensued," she said.

Ms Chol soon noticed her phone was missing and announced: "No one is leaving here until I get my phone back."

The group of males then left, with Ms Chol following and yelling at them to leave, Ms Churchill continued.

CCTV footage of the scuffle was played to the jury, showing Ms Chol fighting a number of boys.

Ms Churchill said Ms Chol was assaulted by a number of males before she was stabbed, and kicked again by her killer before the group left.

Defence lawyer Sam Norton asked the jury to keep an open mind, even though they would be "appalled" by the boy's actions and feel "great sympathy" for Ms Chol and her family.

He said the boy didn't intend to inflict an injury that would cause "really serious injury" or death to Ms Chol.

"He's not entitled to your sympathy, but he is entitled to a fair trial," Mr Norton said.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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