SYDNEY A man has been charged with murder in Australia after an elderly man who was watering his garden was bashed to death in an apparent case of suburban water-rage.
Australia is in its sixth year of severe drought and most towns and cities have imposed strict limits on household water use, prompting a rise in suburban arguments and neighbors informing authorities about those who waste water.
In the latest incident, police said 66-year-old Ken Proctor was using a hose to water the front lawn of his suburban Sydney home when a man walking past made a remark about water waste.
Proctor then turned the hose on the passer by, prompting a fight. He was knocked the ground and was punched and kicked. He was treated by ambulance officers, but died later in hospital.
Authorities said Proctor was not in breach of water restrictions, as he was using a hand-held hose and was watering his lawn on his allocated day. A 36-year-old man charged with Proctor's murder appeared briefly in a Sydney court on Thursday. He was denied bail and will remain in jail until his next court appearance on November 15.
Most of Australia, apart from parts of the island state of Tasmania and towns in the tropical north, have banned garden sprinklers, made it illegal to hose down cars and pavements, and allow gardens only to be watered on set days.