AC­CUSED LOANED $ 50 FOR PETROL

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SA­MAN­THA HEALY sa­man­tha. healy@ news. com. au

AN AC­CUSED mur­derer bor­rowed $ 50 from a mate so he could buy the fuel used to burn his for­mer part­ner’s body, a court has been told.

Wit­ness Jonathon Draper told Townsville Dis­trict Court yesterday he gave for­mer soldier Ky­nan Wat­ego Devenna the money af­ter he saw him search­ing for a fuel can.

The court heard Devenna, who is ac­cused of mur­der­ing Sarah­jane Dower in Ayr on Septem­ber 1, 2012, and then set­ting her car and body alight at High Range, had ear­lier con­fessed to Mr Draper that he had killed his ex- part­ner.

How­ever, the court was told Mr Draper did not ini­tially tell po­lice about the al­leged con­fes­sion, but re­vealed the in­for­ma­tion in a sec­ond state­ment about two months later.

On day three of the mur­der trial yesterday, Mr Draper said he didn’t ask Devenna why he needed the fuel or why he was plan­ning to drive to High Range, but said he could have guessed what the rea­son was.

Mr Draper said he and his fi­ancee had also picked Devenna up from High Range.

Devenna pleaded guilty to man­slaugh­ter on Mon­day, but when the Crown re­fused to down­grade the charge he pleaded not guilty to mur­der.

He also pleaded guilty to interfering with a corpse and two counts of ar­son.

Soldier Ben­jamin Robin­son, who was on ex­er­cises at the High Range Army Train­ing Area, told the court he saw a glow com­ing from Keel­bot­tom Creek on Septem­ber 2, 2012, af­ter he had gone to the top of a moun­tain fea­ture to call his dad for Fa­ther’s Day.

Sergeant Robin­son said the fol­low­ing morn­ing, as he was re­turn­ing to Lavarack Bar­racks, his “crewie” no­ticed a burnt- out car.

Re­tired truckie Gor­don Pat­ter­son was work­ing in the area when he al­legedly saw a man stand­ing at an in­ter­sec­tion about 3pm. Mr Pat­ter­son said he spot­ted a util­ity in “good con­di­tion” parked at Keel­bot­tom Creek soon af­ter he saw the man.

He said the next time he saw the ve­hi­cle there were “two blokes stand­ing at the back of it in creamy uni­forms and it looked to be burnt out”.

Foren­sic pathol­o­gist Pro­fes­sor David Wil­liams also gave ev­i­dence yesterday and said he had ex­am­ined about 14kg of “in­cin­er­ated” re­mains from the ve­hi­cle. He said he no­ticed “too much free blood in the area of the voice box” in­di­cat­ing an in­jury that would be con­sis­tent with a knife wound.

Devenna is ex­pected to give ev­i­dence to­day.

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