Murder accused packed ‘an esky of beer’ before man’s death

MURDER accused James Blakeway did not head to his mate's place prepared for a fight; he packed up an esky of beers and headed over to try and calm him down, his lawyer has argued.

The 40-year-old Mt Garnet man is accused, alongside couple Josephine Bahor, 37, and Chris Hodkinson, 41, of murdering Mark Miller, 36, and attempting to murder his younger brother Robert, 35.

The trio have all pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial in the Cairns Supreme Court.

Robert Miller, 35, and Mark Miller, 36 were allegedly stabbed in Mt Garnet.
Robert Miller, 35, and Mark Miller, 36 were allegedly stabbed in Mt Garnet.

 

During closing submissions on Thursday, Mr Blakeway's barrister James Sheridan argued his client had been charged as an "after thought" by police who initially considered him a witness.

The court previously heard the brothers went to the couple's home over an argument about allegedly stolen cannabis where a fight broke out and the siblings were repeatedly stabbed.

Mark Miller died outside the Mt Garnet ambulance station, but Robert survived.

A crime scene set up at Mt Garnet in 2018 after the alleged stabbings.
A crime scene set up at Mt Garnet in 2018 after the alleged stabbings.

Mr Sheridan said Mr Blakeway was an alcoholic who had been on a "drinking bender" the day of the incident in May 2018, and refuted prosecution claims he had been called in by the couple for "extra muscle" in case the brothers came to their house.

"They enlisted the help of an alcoholic who took an esky of beer to confront the Miller boys. It just doesn't wash up does it?" he said, telling the court he had downed at least 15 beers and multiple Jack Daniels cans during the day.

Mark Miller, 36, died outside the Mt Garnet ambulance station.
Mark Miller, 36, died outside the Mt Garnet ambulance station.

Mr Sheridan said the injuries the brothers suffered were caused by a knife and machete, neither of which his client was armed with.

During her closing statement Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden conceded Mr Blakeway had been armed with "something" when the siblings arrived, but told the court his weapon of choice was not confirmed.

She said they were attacked by "multiple people with multiple weapons" despite making no threats and producing no weapons.

The trial continues on Friday.

Originally published as Murder accused packed 'an esky of beer' before man's death


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