HE WAS in Lismore when a colleague first noticed his bizarre behaviour - hearing voices, saying the government was out to kill him and claiming his food was poisoned.
He then hopped in a car and drove to Rockhampton in Queensland to be with his parents, his female co-worker in tow, either through pressured coercion, kidnapping, or somewhere in between.
When he arrived, he insisted his car be wiped down with bleach to remove fingerprints and barricaded himself inside a cupboard.
His psychotic condition eventually improved with the help of regular treatment and he returned to Sydney in 2008 to move in with his girlfriend and to go back to work.
Five years later in October, 2013, he stabbed his girlfriend to death and was found lying on the floor next to her body in "the posture of someone who had been crucified", the supreme court has heard.
The man, who cannot be named, pleaded not guilty to murder in a Sydney court on the basis of his mental illness, which had again deteriorated at the time of the attack.
He had convinced himself a baby had drowned in a nearby pool - a false revelation which seemed interwoven with a larger psychotic episode.
"I loved my partner, I'm completely at a loss with what I've done to her," he told his psychiatrist.
He said he had heard a voice saying "hit me", so he hit his partner on the chin with his elbow and "after (she) fell, I had this panic that she was going to get up and kill me".
"He could remember thinking, after having stabbed the deceased, 'if you're going to die, I'm going with you'," Justice Richard Button said.
"He confirmed that, eventually, he had positioned himself on the floor of the home 'as if I was going to be crucified'."
Justice Button ordered the man be detained in a psychiatric facility until the Mental Health Review Tribunal was satisfied he would not endanger any person, including himself.
"That verdict does not lessen this tragedy for a moment, and the enormity of the taking of the life of a fellow human being..." he said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.