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Man murdered in random Vic beating

AAP logoAAP 1/09/2016 Caitlin Guilfoyle

A homeless drug user who beat a stranger to death in Melbourne and dumped the body in a creek says he can barely remember the violent and random attack.

CCTV footage shows Dion Laban, 32, walking behind Joel Desgranges, 59, through Sunshine on the morning of December 2.

The pair can be seen talking briefly before Laban, who is pulling a suitcase behind him, suddenly attacks the older man.

He punched, kicked and stomped on a motionless Mr Desgranges before dragging him toward Kororoit Creek, where he beat his victim repeatedly with a branch, the Victorian Supreme Court heard on Thursday.

Mr Desgranges' body was found a few hours later, with Laban's discarded jacket discovered nearby, senior crown prosecutor Peter Rose QC said.

Laban, who has pleaded guilty to murder, changed his entire outfit after the attack and walked away.

Mr Desgranges, originally from France, often walked in the morning and liked to meet his friend, Jason McDonald, at the train station about 5.30am before joining Mr McDonald for a coffee at his workplace.

Mr McDonald was on holidays the day Mr Desgranges was murdered, so didn't meet him at the station.

He said he would forever feel guilty over what happened to his "cheerful, happy, talkative Frenchman" friend.

"I feel if I had gone to work Joel would still be greeting me at the station," a teary Mr McDonald told the court.

Laban's barrister, Mandy Fox, said Laban had limited recollection of the attack and "hated himself" after watching the disturbing CCTV footage.

He had been abusing ice in the lead up to the murder and had become increasingly paranoid and suspicious.

The "spontaneous" killing was strongly connected to drug use, Ms Fox said.

"Absent ice, he is not someone who is violent," she told Laban's plea hearing.

Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth labelled the murder brutal and disturbing.

"It's a completely unprovoked, cowardly attack on a complete stranger, for no reason," she said.

Laban will be sentenced at a later date.

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