A NSW man accused of murdering a fellow prison inmate has been jailed over an earlier violent attack during which he bashed an Aldi cashier with a baseball bat in an attempted robbery.
Mervyn Davidson, 44, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the "ferocious" supermarket attack in the Illawarra region in January 2017, which saw him later punch a police officer and choke - but not kill - a cellmate with his t-shirt.
Judge Andrew Haesler at Wollongong District Court on Friday sentenced Davidson to 11 years in prison with a non-parole period of seven years and eight months.
The judge said the female cashier wouldn't have had time to react and may not have seen Davidson coming before he knocked her unconscious with a swing to the head.
Davidson, who was in the grip of a drug-fuelled psychosis, kicked her as she lay on the ground and said: "Open the register. Give me money. Open the till."
He struck another Aldi staffer who rushed to his co-worker's aid before customers helped wrestle him to the ground.
The female cashier was hospitalised for five days with head injuries and it was months before she could drive or return to work. She is yet to resume full shifts.
The court heard Davidson punched a police officer in the face after he was arrested and later used a t-shirt to choke his new cellmate unconscious in an attack that continued for some time.
He had been released on parole just months earlier for an aggravated break and enter and Judge Haesler said since 2003 he'd only spent a few months out of custody.
"He was not well equipped for normal community life," he said.
The judge took into account Davidson's breach of parole, the need for community protection, and his troubled background including early exposure to alcohol, drugs and violence.
He said the severity of his sentence should not operate to destroy his prospects of rehabilitation.
Davidson will be eligible for parole in 2024 with his sentence expiring in 2028.
He has separately been charged with the murder of Silverwater prison inmate Alfredo Pengue, 54, who died in hospital in February after he was allegedly found unconscious in his cell.
Australian Associated Press