Man to face murder trial
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.