Teen killed with hammer by stepfather, court hears

John Xypolotis killed his 17-year-old stepson and buried him in his own mother's backyard, a court heard today.

Gary Adams died after being hit on the head with a hammer, prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC, told Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Xypolotis, 55, has been charged with murdering Gary on December 5, 2003, at Cranbourne.

He was not arrested until April last year.

On the day he was charged and appeared in court, police were excavating a large area of a backyard in Dallas Avenue, Hughesdale, where Xypolotis's mother lived.

Defence lawyer Tony Trood told the court today that Gary had attacked Xypolotis with a screwdriver.

Gary's mother, Jo-Ann, had earlier claimed that when she had been in a relationship with Xypolotis, her son resented him telling him what to do because he was not his father.

Ms Adams said Xypolotis was "a strong character who wanted things his way".

Xypolotis would order Gary to do the dishes when watching television or complain about Gary's room not being tidy.

He refused to let Gary have any friends come to the house.

Cross-examined by Mr Trood, Ms Adams said she never saw Xypolotis push or shove each other.

She did remember one incident on June 8, 2003 - the day after Gary's 17th birthday - when a glass dish was broken.

Gary told his mother Xypolotis had thrown the dish at her when her back was turned.

Xypolotis denied this and grabbed Gary and the two tussled before she told them to stop.

Ms Adams agreed with Mr Trood that she had filed a claim with Xypolotis' help with the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal over Gary's disappearance and had received a compensation payout of $50,000.

Another witness, Andrew Sonnreich, told the court he was Gary's father but had little to do with him when he was growing up.

He re-established contact a couple of years before Gary disappeared and had been seeing him about once a week.

Questioned by Mr Trood, Mr Sonnreich denied he had been supplying Gary with speed at the time of his disappearance.

Ms Adams had earlier asked if she could make a change to the first statement she gave to police where she claimed Andrew Sonnreich had been Gary's natural father.

Ms Adams said they had had a casual relationship and she was not certain Mr Sonnreich was Gary's father.

The disappearance of Gary was listed as a cold case until it was reopened by Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles, of the homicide squad, in late 2010 after he was approached by Ms Adams.

The committal hearing for Xypolotis continues.

This story Teen killed with hammer by stepfather, court hears first appeared on The Age.