A YOUNG man who murdered his best mate with a machete in a Victorian national park was spurred on by a woman who acted like Lady Macbeth, a judge says.
Samuel Worthy, 21, attacked 20-year-old Joshua Kane from behind during a hike at Mount Eccles National Park in January 2016.
But Worthy's friend Lanie Snell was the power behind the killing, according to Justice Jane Dixon, evoking the manipulative Shakespearean character.
"Regardless of whether (Snell) wielded the machete or not ... she's a bit like Lady Macbeth," Justice Dixon said in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. "In the sense she was perhaps standing by and encouraging (Worthy)."
In Shakespeare's play Macbeth, Lord Macbeth kills the King of Scotland but the murder is orchestrated by his wife who then becomes queen.
Worthy, Snell, 35, and friend Stuart Campbell, 21, have pleaded guilty to Mr Kane's murder.
The trio brought Mr Kane to the national park under the guise of going for a hike before he was killed on the track to Lake Surprise.
Justice Dixon said Worthy's breach of trust may be greatest as he was close to Mr Kane and lured him into the bushwalk.
During Worthy's pre-sentence hearing on Tuesday, Justice Dixon described the case as "quite unique".
This is because it took place in a close country community and was planned, but had the "thinnest" of motives, she said.
Snell was furious at Mr Kane for calling her young son "lazy" and speaking to him in a derogatory way, sparking the murder plot.
Worthy has been less willing to reveal his motivation for the killing. He was also best mates with Mr Kane, came from a supportive family and did not have drug issues.
"It is senseless," Justice Dixon said.
After the machete attack, Mr Kane was left for dead and his body was discovered six days later.
The victim's sister Samara Kane-Foley said Worthy joined the search for her brother, pretending he had no idea what had happened.
"I often think back to the days I was searching for Josh with Sam," she wrote in a statement to the court, read by prosecutor Justin Lewis.
"And the bulls*** lies of him pretending to help me and pretending to care." Mr Lewis described the killing as "cold-blooded" and "brutal". Snell was jailed for at least 15 years for the murder, and prosecutors want Worthy to receive a longer term.
Worthy is due to be sentenced next Tuesday.
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