The scene in the early hours of the morning after Jim Skouloudis’s execution-style murder at his Kemps Creek home in 2003. Picture: Bill Hearne
The scene in the early hours of the morning after Jim Skouloudis’s execution-style murder at his Kemps Creek home in 2003. Picture: Bill Hearne

Truckie who committed ‘delusional’ execution denied release

A speed-addled truckie has been denied parole after he "executed" a father with a Magnum pistol while wracked by delusions that he caused the September 11 terror attacks.

Fuel thief and interstate truck driver Malcolm East arrived at Dimitri Skouloudis' rural Kemps Creek Property late on August 5, 2003, with a prime mover towing a tanker, NSW Supreme Court documents say.

Businessman Jim Skouloudis with wife Katerina.
Businessman Jim Skouloudis with wife Katerina.

He had rung up Mr Skouloudis, a legitimate diesel dealer, a day earlier, saying he wanted to sell him some fuel.

When Mr Skouloudis hesitated East said he would come back with even more.

After Mr Skouloudis let East through the gates to his property, the truckie pulled out a .357 Magnum.

East shot a bullet through the father-of-two's eye and another in his back. He died where he fell.

The court heard the diesel sale had been a lie aimed at getting the beloved family man into a position of vulnerability.

East's sentencing judge said Mr Skouloudis had been "executed'.

Mr Skouloudis had been talking with authorities about getting "rid of the shonks" in his industry.

East, who was stealing fuel to top up his wage as a driver, would likely be one of those shonks.

But there was something stranger stirring in East - in the 18 months leading up to the shooting he had become secretive.

East met Jim Skouloudis with a false offer of selling him some diesel.
East met Jim Skouloudis with a false offer of selling him some diesel.

His family noticed that he ate meals alone, and would lose his temper and lock himself in his flat at Yerrinbool, in the NSW Southern Highlands.

The truckie's years of dependence on amphetamines had caused psychotic illness, a murder trial would later hear.

East was convinced he was in danger and had been stockpiling guns.

Two days after he executed Mr Skouloudis, East walked into a mechanical business in Ingleburn, in Sydney's southwest, where his truck had repaired some months earlier.

East put a pistol on the desk of Jamie Kent and accused the mechanic of cheating him.

He punched Mr Kent in the mouth and held the gun to his face.

Mr Kent asked his father to call the police but East warned him he would be a dead man if he did and fired the 9mm Luger through the window.

"Everyone's out to get me, everyone's trying to f*** me," East said before leaving.

Later that afternoon another man returned to his business in Chipping Norton, in Sydney's southwest, and discovered his prime mover had been shot numerous times through the windscreen and windows.

There was a strong smell of petrol and burned fragments and smoke damage to the side of the truck.

The man didn't know East - and there was no clear reason why the truckie shot up the prime mover.

The tirade at the mechanics led police to East and he was arrested the following day.

The unravelling truckie told psychologists he had been "bugged" but he knew he was losing touch with reality and thought people were talking in riddles.

"He had thought that he was being followed and that the police were looking for an opportunity to set him up, that people were putting drugs into his coffee, that he was being watched and that his truck had been fitted with a device to track his movements," his sentencing judge said.

Psychologists heard East was obsessed with Freemasonry conspiracy theories and believed they had carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks to send him a message.

"He said he mentioned to the acquaintance that he would like to see five planes fly into the World Trade Centre," one psychologist reported.

"He said this then subsequently came to be true. He said that when he thought about it he thought that (The Freemasons) had arranged the '9/11' incident."

The sentencing judge said he felt East had low chances of rehabilitation given he was not interested in drug recovery programs and had made "no effort to come to terms with what he has done".

East was jailed for 11 years and six months non-parole meaning he would be eligible for release in February 2017.

But the State Parole Authority this week denied his release on advice from the Serious Offenders Review Council.

Authorities want a psychological report as well as post-release plans for East and they want him to complete a program to address his behaviour.

His sentence will expire on February 7, 2021.



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