A Sydney security guard beaten to death in an inner-city shopping centre may have wrongly assumed his accused attackers were stealing from an ice-cream kiosk.
Hans Schulz, 69, was allegedly attacked by Adrian Gallaher and Svetlana Avrashkova at the Broadway shopping centre on Sunday night when he approached them as they were breaking into a Wendy's kiosk on the ground floor.
Schulz was allegedly punched in the head by Gallaher, 32, and then by his partner, Avrashkova, 27, before slumping to the ground. Avrashkova then kicked him in the chest as his face turned blue, a shopping centre worker said. He later died in hospital.
''It's certainly an attack that was uncalled for and it's vicious in that this man has been struck several times,'' Superintendent Michael O'Toole said.
The Sydney Morning Herald has learned police have not ruled out that the couple had bought groceries from Coles and were walking along the ground floor when a ball belonging to a child who was with them went into the kiosk.
They may have broken into the kiosk to fetch the ball when they were confronted by Schulz. It is also possible the guard attacked first, a senior police source said.
''You have to look at whether the reaction from the security guard was appropriate ... [and] whether there was an equal and opposite reaction,'' the officer said.
Avrashkova's mother, Olga, told Channel Seven the guard grabbed a girl who was with them by the neck.
Avrashkova and Gallaher did not apply for bail when they appeared in Newtown Local Court yesterday on manslaughter charges and their case was adjourned for one week.
They were apprehended at a city bus stop after fleeing the centre about 8.15pm (10.15pm NZT).
Police have appealed for a third person who was with the couple in Coles, known only as Raelene, to come forward.
Colleagues and friends of Schulz described the security guard as a kind man who had survived bowel cancer and was gentle despite his heavy frame.
''He used to say ... 'I'd let them [shoplifters] know I'd seen them, but there was no way I could chase after them','' said a friend, Nicola Muggeridge. ''He was an old man, and he was like, 'What am I going to do?'.''
- Sydney Morning Herald