Police have described the alleged murder of a man on the NSW south coast as “violent, senseless and cowardly”.

Three people, a 22-year-old man and two 17-year-old boys, have been charged with murder in connection with the death of Michael Kerr.

The teenagers were arrested in Penrith on Tuesday while the older man was arrested following a search of a house in Warilla on Wednesday morning.

Police allege the 51-year-old died when the trio had a small amount of cash and a phone stolen from him in January last year.

“These three people had attempted to rob a gas station, but for some reason they were discouraged from it,” said Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty of the State Crime Command Homicide Squad.

Superintendent Doherty described the alleged stabbing as ‘an opportunistic crime’ and said Mr Kerr, who was in the area after visiting his girlfriend at the nearby hospital, was robbed’ only $30 and a cell phone”.

“I don’t think he had a chance”

Superintendent Doherty said police believe Mr Kerr tried to defend himself but would have been outnumbered.

“We believe he tried to retaliate,” he said.

“We don’t think he had a chance, he was a 51-year-old man who happened to be in the area at the wrong time.

“It was a cowardly act, it’s a violent act, it was a senseless act.”

Handcuffs placed on a man's wrists
The trio are accused of stabbing Michael Kerr to death in Nowra in January last year.(Supplied: New South Wales Police)

grateful family

Superintendent Doherty said Mr Kerr’s family were relieved after being told of the arrests following the year-long investigation.

“It has been an emotional 12 months for them and they have been grieving during this time,” he said.

“There is a long way to go for them, but they are grateful to the police and the work they have done.

“I am also very proud of the work of the strike force investigators.”

The three defendants have been charged with murder, aggravated robbery with grievous bodily harm/injury, attempted robbery in a company, and transportation in a car taken without the owner’s consent.

The teenagers have been denied bail and are due in juvenile court in March.

The 22-year-old was refused bail when his case was mentioned today and is due to appear in Wollongong Local Court on Friday.

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