Man to face mur­der trial

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Roanne John­son roanne. john­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

A BA­NANA picker, who al­legedly called his girl­friend to say he’d just killed ‘‘ a re­ally nice bloke’’ has been com­mit­ted to stand trial for mur­der.

Alan Brian Wood, 37, will now f ace t he Townsville Supreme Court ac­cused of stab­bing to death Michael James McGrath, 51, on March 27, 2010, af­ter they met in a lo­cal pub.

Edna Stone, 51, claimed at the com­mit­tal hear­ing in the Townsville Mag­is­trates Court yes­ter­day that she re­ceived a phone call from Mr Wood at 5am the day Mr McGrath was found dead.

‘‘ Alan told me that he hurt some­one and I thought he was jok­ing,’’ Ms Stone told po­lice pros­e­cu­tor He­len Ar­mitage. ‘‘ And then he said I’ve killed some­one . . . I moved the phone away from my ear sort of a bit shocked.’’

Ms Stone, who had dropped Mr Wood at the In­n­is­fail train sta­tion the pre­vi­ous day be­cause he was mov­ing to Townsville to find work, said she thought he was jok­ing. How­ever she said he re­peated his claims, say­ing there was a lot of blood, he had to clean up and could be go­ing away for ‘‘ a very long time’’.

Ms Stone said, un­der cros­sex­am­i­na­tion by de­fence bar­ris­ter Tony Collins, that her boyfriend told her his vic­tim ‘‘ was a re­ally nice bloke’’. ‘‘ I couldn’t un­der­stand how you could say that and do what he did,’’ she said.

She claimed that in the past her part­ner told her he could ‘‘ hear voices in his head’’ and she’d asked him to get help for men­tal prob­lems – al­legedly made worse by al­co­hol. ‘‘ He would say I said some­thing when I didn’t . . . the al­co­hol just turned him into some­thing else,’’ she said. ‘‘ I told him to go and see a doc­tor . . . be­cause I couldn’t live with him.’’

Dur­ing the phone con­ver­sa­tion, when Mr Wood made the al­leged mur­der ad­mis­sions, Ms Stone said he ‘‘ was talk­ing ( gib­ber­ish) to him­self’’ and ‘‘ sounded blind’’.

The cou­ple, who broke up af­ter he was taken into cus­tody, were to­gether for two years but ‘‘ had their prob­lems’’ mainly caused by ar­gu­ments when the de­fen­dant drank.

Ear­lier this week the com­mit­tal heard Mr Wood and his al­leged vic­tim, who al­legedly went to the de­ceased man’s share-house on Kings Rd, Mys­ter­ton, were al­legedly seen drink­ing to­gether and heard ar­gu­ing over al­co­hol by a house­mate.

The fol­low­ing day, on March 28, 2010, Mr Wood was ar­rested at the Mund­ing­burra IGA af­ter al­legedly call­ing 000 claim­ing he had a knife and that he had killed a man ear­lier that morn­ing.

Mr Wood was taken to the Townsville Men­tal Health Unit on an Emer­gency Eval­u­a­tion Or­der due to his level of in­tox­i­ca­tion and once again told med­i­cal staff he had killed some­one. Af­ter be­ing cleared as ‘‘ lu­cid and telling the truth’’ de­tec­tives in­ter­viewed the ac­cused who led them to Mr McGrath’s a body.

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