Estranged father lay in wait before shooting daughter and son-in-law

A man who lay in wait outside a Melbourne home before shooting his estranged daughter and son-in-law as they returned from their first wedding anniversary had been “put out” that his permission was not sought before the pair got married, a court has heard.

Osman Shaptafaj was also “highly sensitive” about what he perceived as allegiances his children had towards their mother after he split from his wife and became estranged from his family, the Supreme Court of Victoria was told on Wednesday.

Shaptafaj pleaded guilty in February to murdering his daughter Lindita Musai, 25, and son-in-law Veton Musai, 29, on New Year’s Eve in 2019.

Veton and Lindita Musai were shot outside their Yarraville home.Credit:Facebook/Veton Musai

The couple were returning to the Musai family home in Yarraville, in Melbourne’s inner-west, after spending their first wedding anniversary at a hotel in the city, when they were shot from behind.

Ms Musai died on New Year’s Eve and Mr Musai died a day later in hospital.

Crown prosecutor Catherine Parkes told the court that, at the time, Shaptafaj was living alone in Altona and did not hold a firearms licence. He left home with a loaded handgun and ammunition at 8.20am on December 31, 2019, driving to the Yarraville area. He drove around before parking outside the Musai family home just before 9am.

At 10.23am, Veton and Lindita Musai arrived home in an Uber car and rang the doorbell. While they were waiting, Shaptafaj walked up behind them and shot them both in the head at close range.

A family member heard the gunshots and came out to see the pair lying on the front porch and Shaptafaj standing three metres away with a gun to his head looking blank and with “no facial expression”.

Shaptafaj then walked to nearby grassland and shot himself twice in the head. He was taken to hospital and underwent surgery. His right eye was removed and he now has a brain injury.

The court heard police do not know how Shaptafaj got the gun. They have also been unable to establish how he knew when the couple were returning home.

Shaptafaj, who is of Albanian background, was married in 1989 and the couple had two children, a daughter and a son. Ms Parkes told the court Shaptafaj had allegedly been violent towards his family. The pair split in 2008.

Lindita and Veton Musai. Credit:Facebook

Ms Parkes said Ms Musai told her brother that she hated her father as a result of abuse and felt like her family “would have been amazing” if not for him.

She said she hoped she would never see him again so she “wouldn’t have to constantly look over her shoulder” and worry he would come back to hurt them.

The family cut ties from Shaptafaj and had not seen him since 2011.

Tanya Skortsova, for Shaptafaj, said her client had become increasingly socially isolated in the years leading up to the shooting. In 2003, he was injured and was unable to work for several years, and he became depressed.

Lindita and Veton Musai (left) with his parents Zirka and Alil Musai and brothers Lindor and Drilon Musai.

“His wife had to step in to financially provide for the family unit and it seems that irreparably altered dynamics of the family unit and compounded my client’s feelings of no worth,” she said.

The subsequent separation and breakdown of the family “struck at the very core” of his identity.

In 2013, Shaptafaj was in a major motorbike accident and couldn’t work. He became a social recluse, living on his own and spending days on end watching TV and playing computer games.

Ms Skortsova submitted to the court that Shaptafaj’s depressive disorder affected her client’s reasoning and decision-making on the day of the shooting, and reduced his moral culpability.

Justice Andrew Tinney said there had been a significant degree of planning when Shaptafaj laid in wait with a loaded gun for his daughter and her husband “in circumstances where Mr Shaptafaj has indicated to other sources that he was put out, to say the least, his permission had not been sought to marry his daughter. That, on the face of it, appears to be calculated, planned behaviour directed towards two people towards whom, for his own reasons, Mr Shaptafaj felt aggrieved. What’s the state of depression got to do with that?”

Earlier in Wednesday’s hearing, Mr Musai’s brother Drilon cried as he read a victim impact statement to the court.

He said on the day of the shooting, he received a call that was seared into his memory from his panicked and anguished wife. He said he came home to find his family “broken in a heap in front of me”, including his mother buckled over screaming and crying.

His brother was his best friend, confidant and partner in crime. The pair had been building townhouses together so they could live next door to each other.

The hearing continues on Wednesday afternoon.

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