Graeme Hughes was known to friends as a straight-forward kind of person who was honourable, moral and honest.
Graeme Hughes was known to friends as a straight-forward kind of person who was honourable, moral and honest.

Man to stand trial for murder

ALLAN James Murray will face trial in the Supreme Court for allegedly hammering fellow musician Graeme Hughes to death.

Murray, 41, appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court for a two-day committal hearing which concluded yesterday afternoon after 15 witnesses were cross-examined by defence barrister Callan Cassidy.

The court heard evidence from signwriter Gary Nevin who introduced Mr Hughes to Murray three months before the May 22 incident at a Goomboorian farmhouse.

He said both men were musicians — people he knew and liked.

“I thought they’d get along... more (because of) the musical connection I think,” he said, adding that when he spoke to Mr Hughes two days before he died, he had said working for Murray was “going well”.

Gary Dwyer was called to give evidence on Tuesday and said he had spoken with his friend and guitar teacher, Mr Hughes, twice by phone on the day he died.

He said the second phone call gave him the impression Mr Hughes could not talk freely.

“Graeme said his work arrangements were not working out as he thought it would ... he had some doubts about whether he was going to be paid what he was promised,” he said.

“We did discuss a lot of things about his employment (in the days before). He was supposed to get $200 a day (but) I didn’t know how one house-clean could earn as much (to pay him that kind of money).”

When asked what type of person his friend was, Mr Dwyer said, “Honourable, moral, honest. A straight-forward kind of person.”

Scientific officer Senior Constable Melissa Bell of Queensland Police Brisbane Scientific Section investigated the crime scene on the day of the alleged murder and returned the following day once the deceased had been removed from the scene.

She collected blood evidence to trace the DNA and examined the blood stains in the bathroom, making interpretations from the splatter patterns on the walls, floors, in and around the bathtub and on the vanity. From these she determined that an object moving downwards had impacted Mr Hughes with force.

In cross examination of her evidence, Snr Const Melissa Bell told defence barrister Callan Cassidy that the way Mr Hughes was found in the bath with a fly screen under him gave her the conclusion he was in the bath at point of impact.

“There was a considerable amount of blood in the bath... (and) all around the bathtub and walls and floors of the bathroom,” she said.

“There was (an area void of blood) outside the edge of the bathtub one to two tiles in width which may be explained by blood being projected downwards and shielded by the lip (of the bathtub).”

Snr Const Bell said the void area would be less if the point of impact was high above the bath.

“At a certain point there would be no void area at all,” she said and agreed with Mr Cassidy that Mr Hughes would have been at some height about the bathtub when the impact occurred.

“Were you aware there was no significant amount of blood on the accused when he was taken into custody?” Mr Cassidy asked to which Snr Const Bell said she wasn’t.

She said she got to her conclusion by looking at blood spatters in conjunction with the crime scene as a whole.

“Some blood came from above and others were projected from in the bath. The void was quite large so (Mr Hughes) not very high above the bath (when he was struck). It’s likely the impact happened within the bath to create that void area. It was less likely he was standing in the bath.”

Arresting officer Detective Senior Constable Brett Long was the last of the witnesses to take the stand. He described Murray at the scene as being distraught; “crying and choked up”.

“At one stage he was sitting in the car and came out on his knees. He had to be physically helped back in the car.

“I had concerns for his health and well-being at the scene so I got an ambulance officer to check him over (who) said he was fit for custody. He was quite lucid and calm at times.”

Mr Cassidy offered no submissions and consented to Magistrate Maxine Baldwin committing Murray without having viewed all the statements handed up.

Murray did not enter a plea and was committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court in Brisbane at a date to be set, charged with murder at Goomboorian on May 22.

Gympie Times

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