Stabbing was self defence: accused
A COOKTOWN man accused of murdering his neighbour for cash said he stabbed the pensioner six times in self defence.
Samuel Wells told Cairns Supreme Court yesterday he acted in self defence when he stabbed his neighbour David McLelland, 42, in November 2017.
In evidence to the court Mr Wells, 22, said he attended Mr McLelland’s house on Hagarty Close in the evening of November 3 after they had drunk together next door.
“I offered him to come over for a beer, I was looking at his back the whole time,” Mr Wells said. “All of a sudden, but quietly, he was mumbling, I couldn't understand what he was saying.
“He ran at me with the knife – we struggled and I grabbed the knife, I stabbed him a number of times ... I stabbed him about six times. I stabbed him in the side of the ribs.
“It happened in seconds, I was in shock.”
The court heard that Mr McLelland had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was taking anti-psychotics for the condition.
Prosecutor Todd Fuller suggested to the defendant that during his police interview, he said Mr McLelland had fallen on the knife in the struggle.
“He may have tripped .... I’m not sure,” Mr Wells responded.
The court this week heard that Mr Wells claimed his neighbour then stabbed himself and slashed his own throat with the same knife.
Mr Fuller suggested blood had splashed on to Mr Wells’ clothing as he knelt over him.
“You were leaning over him as you stabbed him, weren’t you,” Mr Fuller said. “He was on the floor as you were stabbing him in the chest.”
“I’m not sure,” Mr Wells replied. Mr Fuller said Mr Wells’ statement to police was at odds with what he told the court.
The jury is expected to retire to consider a verdict today.