The lover in question is Billy Theoharis, another poker player, who was having an affair with nurse Tina Thwaites. Upon finding out that Thwaites was being unfaithful to him, Thomas went into a rage looking for Theoharis.
“Why did the assaults occur? We know why. Tina Thwaites and Billy Theoharis had a sexual interlude and it was during the time that Tina Thwaites was Mr Thomas’ girlfriend,” Crown prosecutor Tom Gyorffy, QC, said in court.
“Mr Thomas was angry about the fact that while his relationship was on with Tina, she had been unfaithful to him.”
According to the Age Victoria, Anagnostellis, 49, was separated from his wife and living with his parents. Following a late-night poker session at the Sandown Hotel, he invited Thomas, Andrew Heke and Scott Sullivan back to the home to play poker. Heke fell asleep at the table amid heavy drinking, while Sullivan left because he was feeling sick. It is then when Thomas, 33, confronted Anagnostellis in the garage about where he could find Theoharis.
What ensued was Thomas delivering “a mixture of punches, elbows, kicks, knees, head butts” to Anagnostellis before setting fire to the garage.
Thomas tried defending himself in court by saying that Anagnostellis threatened to set the garage on fire in a drunken rage.
“At this stage I feared for my life and for the life of my friend that was obviously still passed out at the table,” said Thomas. “I made the decision to grab Andrew. Before we got to the door I heard a breath of wind, like a deep breath of wind, and then the explosion happened.
“So George has obviously used his yellow lighter that he had in his hand to light the petrol that he had been pouring around in the shed. Once the explosion obviously happened, both Andrew and I were blown out the door on to the garden.”
Mr Gyorffy was able to cut through these lies by explaining that Anagnostellis had gasoline in his throat, meaning he was on his back when the gas was poured and the fire was lit.
“The only way it could get there is if he was lying on the ground, his mouth open, and the petrol was poured over his body,” the prosecutor explained. “There’s no other way. The fire logically has to have been after the assault occurred. This man has got injuries to his throat which have a significant effect on him. He’s had blows to his head. He’s got bleeding in his brain, got all sorts of problems, and he’s supposed to get up, pick up a jerry can, wander around, talking about setting this place on fire … it’s just not believable, is it?”