Beheading ‘no murder’
Defence seeks acquittal
A MAN who has admitted to cutting off his housemate’s head, drowning his dogs and then burning his car should be acquitted of his murder, a jury has been told.
In the Supreme Court in Burnie, defence counsel Greg Richardson said the “bizarre” actions of his client Darren Ward Gale, 53, were those of a man terrified of being falsely accused of murder. Mr Gale has pleaded not guilty.
THE Crown had not proved how Noel Joseph Ingham had died in Ulverstone three years ago and it should acquit the man accused of killing him, a jury was told yesterday.
In the Supreme Court in Burnie, defence counsel Greg Richardson said it remained open that Mr Ingham died as the result of an accident.
Mr Richardson said his client’s “bizarre” actions after Mr Ingham’s death were those of a man terrified of being falsely accused of murder.
Darren Ward Gale, 53, has pleaded not guilty to killing Mr Ingham, 58, in the West Ulverstone unit he shared with the older man in 2016.
The murder trial has run for more than 40 days and involved 60 witnesses. But there has been no evidence, other than that given by the accused, about how Noel Ingham died in his Colac St unit.
“He either met his death how Mr Gale described it on oath or you don’t know how he died,” Mr Richardson said in his closing address.
In the stand, Gale told the jury he had buried Mr Ingham in bushland near Railton, cut off his head, put it in a backpack and threw it off the Mersey River bridge as he returned to Ulverstone on a bicycle. Gale also admitted drowning his former flatmate’s two dogs, burning his car, giving away or selling most of his possessions and lying about his knowledge of Mr Ingham’s whereabouts.
But Mr Richardson said: “The entire case is based on ‘you can assume that Gale killed Noel Ingham by what he did after the death’. But they are equably explainable as the actions of someone trying to avoid a false accusation.”
Gale told the jury he had argued with an intoxicated Noel Ingham on July 29, 2016 in the loungeroom of the unit. He said he left the room and Mr Ingham threw an axe handle at him. Gale said he kept walking towards his bedroom before he heard a loud bang and returned to find Mr Ingham slumped across the fish tank with a head wound.
In phone calls to a friend from Risdon Prison, Gale said police had “nothing after the fact” and were “grasping at straws”. “I’m not guilty of what they are saying and I can nearly prove it,” he said in the recorded conversation.
Mr Richardson told the jury if Mr Gale’s version of events remained open as a possibility it must find him not guilty.