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A Brisbane financial planner found guilty of bashing his best client to death with a hammer has told his victim's family he is sorry for their hurt.
Trung The Ma, 35, went to Huegio Bonham's Gold Coast home in February 2014 after the spiritual guru phoned wanting to withdraw his investments with Ma's firm, Brisbane Money Management.The pair argued, according to Ma, before he exploded and struck Mr Bonham, 63, in the head three times with a hammer he picked up from a bookshelf.
Crown prosecutor Michael Lehane said Ma was a talented fraudster who had silenced his client of four years after Mr Bonham discovered Ma had stolen $706,000 from him.
Ma admitted killing Mr Bonham in 2014 but argued due to his mental health he should be found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
He also claimed Mr Bonham attempted to blackmail him into handing over his client list so he could spruik his healing services to them by threatening to ruin Ma's business reputation.
Ma told Brisbane Supreme Court although he remembered committing the crime, he was outside his body looking in and unable to stop himself raining blows.
He said he was also overwhelmed by fear of disappointing his family.
"He threatened to take my business down. I apologised for not meeting his expectations ... but he didn't accept that," Ma testified.
"It was at that point I became unstable. I felt everything that I'd worked for was about to collapse."
Mr Lehane said no defence wounds were found on Mr Bonham and it was a sudden and ferocious attack.
Ma told police he wrapped Mr Bonham's body in a sleeping bag and cleaned the crime scene before driving to Bunnings and buying a large plastic container.
He put the dead man inside and took him to an abandoned warehouse before collecting his wife from work. The following day he moved the body to an Indooroopilly storage unit.
Mr Lehane said Ma was a practised liar who'd defrauded his clients of $1.2 million and covered up an extra-martial affair.
However defence lawyer Tim Ryan said there was another side to the refugee who'd fled communist Vietnam with his family as a child.
He said he'd been weighed down for years with anxiety and stress due to expectations heaped upon him by his father to look after and provide for their extended family.
A Supreme Court jury was not convinced by Ma's mental illness defence and on Friday found him guilty of murder.
Ma said he was sorry for the hurt caused and apologised to the Bonham family.
"I don't ask for forgiveness but I do ask for your understanding,"he told them.
His father, Danh Ma, shook his head as the jury read their verdict while Ma's 28-year-old sister wept.