Paul Gathercole has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Paul Gathercole has pleaded not guilty to murder. PIXABAY

Murder accused and best mate never had 'any dramas'

PAUL Gathercole and the friend he killed had never had an argument before one fatal night, witnesses have told a murder trial.

Mr Gathercole has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but not guilty to murdering former Coffs Harbour man Robbie Charles.

The men were flatmates at Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast, and went with Mr Charles's girlfriend Vanessa Heath to a darts club function on February 1, 2014.

"It was a very successful afternoon, everybody had a great time,” defence counsel Robert East told Brisbane Supreme Court.

The trio went to Nobbys Beach Surf Life Saving Club later that Saturday.

Rodney Davis knew Mr Gathercole through darts.

Asked on Tuesday if he'd ever seen "any dramas” between the flatmates, he told Mr East he had not.

Another witness said Mr Gathercole was not obviously drunk that night, but was always fairly reserved.

"Paulie seemed all right. He's a fairly quiet guy.”

Mr Charles was "boisterous”, and intoxicated at the club, the witness said.

He said no animosity existed between the flatmates.

Mr Charles and Ms Heath were driven to the Mermaid Beach unit in a courtesy bus.

Mr Gathercole made his own way home, then took his flatmate's dog for a walk, jurors heard.

The court heard that after Mr Gathercole returned to the unit, an argument erupted.

One Mermaid Beach man said a man yelled loudly: "You kicked him in the head, you mongrel dog.”

Ms Heath also gave evidence, saying Mr Gathercole told her "he had done something wrong”.

"He looked quite shocked. When I ran out I saw Robbie on the ground, I thought I remember seeing his face down.”

She said his intestines were exposed, and she tried helping him.

Mr Gathercole emerged and Ms Heath said: "I think he was saying I'm sorry, I'm sorry.”

Another witness said she heard Mr Gathercole yelling at someone not to kick a dog, then "a scuffle” and "a screen door flying open”.

Neighbour Dean Sunderland said he heard a woman screaming "Help”.

He said a "heavily” alcohol-affected man was outside, pacing about.

Another witness said a man "pacing back and forth” did not seem drunk or off-balance.

Prosecutor Michael Lehane has told jurors Mr Charles was stabbed with a knife with a 27cm blade.

"It went inside him a total depth of around 20cm and that proved fatal.”

The trial continues. -NewsRegional 



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