Murder accused takes stand

MITCHELL Winefield, standing trial charged with the murder of a Nambucca Heads teenager, took the stand yesterday in the NSW Supreme Court in Coffs Harbour.

Winefield, who is alleged to have fatally stabbed Caleb Jarrett, 18, gave his version of events from the night of February 14, 2009.

Asked if the knife, produced in court as the murder weapon was his, he answered “no”.

When questioned when he first saw the knife, he said “at the last trial”.

Detailing his version of the fight with Caleb, he said he approached the deceased after hearing a thud on his four-wheel-drive as he moved the vehicle to the front of his Mann St home.

Asked if Caleb said anything to him he responded: “He was telling me to watch where I was ....... going.

“I heard a number of voices and a group of people walking. I heard (them) yelling ‘hit him Caleb’.”

Winefield said the man in front of him swung a blow.

“I put my hand up in defence . . . about chin level.

“I heard something hit the ground.

“Someone was hitting me, the person in front of me, so I covered up. I fell to my knee and covered up. I noticed a knife on the ground.”

He recalled the blade was exposed and detailed how he grabbed it.

“I was concerned about being stabbed,” he said.

Winefield said a male jumped on top of him.

With the knife in hand he said he tried to push him off using his other hand for leverage on the ground.

After the scuffle, Winefield found the keys to his vehicle, which he had dropped, and left the scene with the knife in his possession.

Suffering a cut to his hand he said he thought about calling an ambulance, but instead returned home where his former de facto was sleeping.

Shortly after he said he grabbed his mobile phone and some loose change and returned to his vehicle and drove to seek medical attention.

Unable to find a 24-hour medical centre in Nambucca Heads, he headed back towards his home.

He said he saw police outside his home, as he sat in his car in nearby Pioneer Dr, where he was arrested by police.

On the stand Winefield admitted he handed over the knife to officers. Under cross examination the Crown accused Winefield of changing his testimony, with the advantage of knowing the case against him and the witnesses’ version of events from the previous trial last August.

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