The Woomala St house in Woree where Crystal Ratcliffe, 38, was allegedly fatally stabbed death by her ex-partner Ricky Cowan, 47 in 2016. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
The Woomala St house in Woree where Crystal Ratcliffe, 38, was allegedly fatally stabbed death by her ex-partner Ricky Cowan, 47 in 2016. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

‘Stop talking to jailhouse nitwits’, murder accused told

AN alleged murderer has been urged to stop taking legal advice from fellow prison inmates and "jailhouse nitwits" and get himself a lawyer before he decides whether he will fight the charge.

Ricky Cowan, 50, who is accused of raping and stabbing his ex-partner to death in a jealous rage, represented himself again in the Cairns Supreme Court this morning.

Mother of two Crystal Ratcliffe, 38, was found with 41 stab wounds at the at her Woree home in 2016.

Police have alleged Mr Cowan had attacked her after finding out about her new partner.

Mr Cowan told the court he had been told Justice Jim Henry would take him more seriously during a trial if he represented himself.

Justice Henry told him it was a jury who would decide his fate, not him, and that advice was wrong.

Crystal Ratcliffe, 38, who was allegedly stabbed to death in her Woree home.
Crystal Ratcliffe, 38, who was allegedly stabbed to death in her Woree home.

"Seldom is it helpful to represent yourself in a serious matter," he said.

"But it's a free country.

"Forget about talking to jailhouse nitwits.

"Their advice (doesn't work) because they're sitting in jail, if you get my drift.

"I'm concerned that you might not have received the best of advice from people … who suggest you should represent yourself.

"I suspect a lawyer can do a better job than you can."

Mr Cowan raised concerns about his declining health during his first Supreme Court appearance in January and spoke about it again yesterday while being asked about his legal representation.

Alleged murderer Ricky Cowan being taken to an ambulance after he allegedly stabbed his ex-partner in 2016. Picture: Marc McCormack
Alleged murderer Ricky Cowan being taken to an ambulance after he allegedly stabbed his ex-partner in 2016. Picture: Marc McCormack

"I've got no lawyer," he said.

"I've been in and out of hospital for a long period of time.

"My life is basically plagued by illness.

"The doctors don't listen.

"If no lawyer wants to represent me I guess (I'll represent myself)."

While yet to enter a plea he also issued an apology over the incident.

"I'm sorry and remorseful for what happened from the bottom of my heart," he told the court.

"I'm a loving father, a family man."

Justice Henry adjourned the case until March 20 to give him a further chance to get legal representation.



VOTE: The Coffs Coast’s cutest dog for 2020

Premium Content VOTE: The Coffs Coast’s cutest dog for 2020

The Advocate received over 80 adorable nominations – vote now!

ONE WAY TICKET: Tigers playing for spot in AFLNC decider

Premium Content ONE WAY TICKET: Tigers playing for spot in AFLNC decider

Grafton travel to Sawtell Toormina for a chance at a spot in the big dance

Check out these North Coast builds up for awards

Premium Content Check out these North Coast builds up for awards

Aged care creativity and affordable hilltop build showcases regional class