Christmas argument led to punches

A MAN accused of murdering his boss is on trial in the Coffs Harbour Supreme Court.

Sandy Beach truckie Grant Kelly Connelly, 36, is charged with the murder of Moonee Beach man Andrew William Walker, 41, in December 2005.

The trial before Justice Megan Latham is expected to last for at least another three weeks, with vital forensic evidence due to be heard tomorrow.

Connelly attended a work Christmas party hosted by Mr Walker at his Tiki Road home on December 17, 2005. Jurors will visit the scene on Friday.

In a police record of interview played in court yesterday, Connelly said he and Mr Walker had a heated verbal argument at the front of the property later that night and that Mr Walker punched him in the mouth.

He said he hit Mr Walker, who fell to the ground, and that he punched Mr Walker another three times to make sure he could not get up and retaliate.

Connelly also said during the interview he was 'apologetic' for what had happened.

However, the court heard a conflicting account of the assault -- that Mr Walker's wife, Sandra, had told a friend that Connelly hit Mr Walker a couple of times, that Connelly's eyes 'went evil' and he kept on hitting him, throwing between 20 and 25 punches.

Connelly's work colleague, Craig Breeze, said yesterday he had left the pair when their voices became raised and went to fetch drinks, but spun around when he heard Mrs Walker screaming.

Mr Breeze said Mr Walker was on the ground and Mrs Walker had said 'he (Connelly) couldn't stop hitting him'.

"She was frantic," Mr Breeze said.

Mr Walker was on his back and was gasping for breath, and Mr Breeze rolled his boss on his side and put his hand in his throat because he thought Mr Walker was choking on his tongue.

Ambulance officer Bruce Waters told the court he and a colleague arrived at the scene to discover Mr Walker unconscious on the ground and that he had 'gross' swelling to the left side of his face.

His condition was quickly deteriorating, and Mr Waters and the other officer worked on him in their vehicle on the way to hospital, where Mr Walker later died.

Noeline Walsh, a friend of the Walkers, told the trial Mr Walker had told his staff at the party an offer was on the table for his transport business and he had to give an answer within days.

Some of the drivers were 'fine' with the news, while most were concerned about their jobs. She said Connelly became aggressive and 'very vocal' and was worried about his job.

The trial continues.

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