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A man has been decapitated in his southwestern Sydney home after he stepped in to protect his wife from his son, family members say.
Toufic Zahab, 69, is understood to have been hit with a brick and knifed in the attack that led to his decapitation at the family's home in Stacey Street, Bankstown, just after 6am (AEDT) today.
Police have arrested the victim's 42-year-old son Khoder, who is assisting with their inquiries.
Acting Bankstown Superintendent Glen Fitzgerald said the scene was distressing for police and family members who were at home during the attack.
"The scene itself its quite disturbing," he told reporters outside Bankstown police station.
Police would not say whether a weapon was used in the attack or whether Khoder had a history of mental illness.
A cousin of the victim's wife, who did not wish to give his name, said Khoder had attacked his father after Toufic tried to stop him threatening his wife.
Khoder hit his father with a brick and started stabbing him with a knife after he fell down, the cousin told AAP.
The mother had been burned with candles and kicked down the stairs, News Limited reported.
The cousin said after the attack Khoder Zahab ran next door to another cousin's house and asked for keys to his car.
He said the family had shared a meal at Mr Zahab's home on Wednesday evening and Khoder had stayed the night.
In the morning, Khoder had become aggressive towards his mother and when his father intervened they started fighting.
Fights had broken out in the past when the father had tried to offer his son guidance, the cousin added.
Mr Zahab's grandson said it was a great shock.
He told Fairfax Radio the family were very nice, warm people.
"It's big shock to everybody as to what's happened. It's far from what would be expected to happen."
Supt Fitzgerald said everyone involved would be offered counselling. "It's been a difficult morning for both the family and the police."
Forensic examiners remained at the scene, which Supt Fitzgerald said would be "locked down for some time."