Grisly details of elderly woman’s death heard
The man accused of killing an elderly woman over a $400 payment dispute has been committed to stand trial.
Mark Daniel Ferguson faced Townsville Magistrates Court today charged with murdering Pamela Corless in her back garden with a timber plank on September 2, 2018.
Ferguson is also charged with one count of wilful damage and one count of enter dwelling and commit indictable offence.
Police allege Ferguson murdered Ms Corless over the unpaid bill for wardrobe renovation work he was hired to complete at her Cranbrook home.
Police prosecutor Bimal Raut wheeled in 116 witness statements and 133 exhibits on a trolley that he presented to the court as evidence.
The committal hearing saw defence barrister Frank Richards cross examine two witnesses the prosecution intends to call at the trial.
Ferguson's girlfriend at the time of the murder, Louise Marie Davis was called to give evidence at the hearing, becoming emotional throughout her questioning.
Ms Davis told Mr Richards Ms Corless was not happy with the job Ferguson did with the wardrobe renovations.
"The sheeting wasn't the right size, she didn't want the bottom of the wardrobe flooring to have gaps in it," she said.
"She just wanted it all to be one size. She didn't want one piece of flooring and another little piece to fill in the gaps."
Ms Davis told Mr Richards she thought Ms Corless had paid Ferguson $200 for the renovations but there was "around $400" still outstanding.
Ms Davis said she had accompanied Ferguson to Ms Corless' house on the day of the murder to settle the bill for the renovations.
She waited in the car as Ferguson jumped the fence onto Ms Corless' property and not long after Ms Davis said she heard the sound of glass smashing on the ground.
Ms Davis told Mr Richards she then heard Ms Corless say: "Get out of my house".
When Ferguson returned to the car around 15 minutes later, Ms Davis said he told her: "Baby, take me home".
As Ms Davis drove Ferguson home she said he confessed to her: "I smashed a couple of windows and knocked her out with a piece of timber."
Mr Richards told the court "it is uncontroversial a piece of wood was found at the scene which was 1.5 metres in length and 700mm by 35mm in dimensions".
Dr Paul Botterill was called to give evidence about Ms Corless' autopsy report findings.
Ms Corless' daughter and son-in-law were present in court to hear the evidence with Magistrate Steven Mosch warning the family of the potentially confronting evidence they were about to hear.
Dr Botterill explained Ms Corless' sustained a 65mm linear laceration to the back left of her head that extended through the full thickness of the scalp.
When Mr Richards asked Dr Botterill what sort of force would have been used to inflict Ms Corless' injuries, he replied with "severe force".
"Generally things like a fall from behind or blunt force contact with implements will result in the sort of changes that were present here," he said.
The cause of death was initially reported as blunt force head injury with possible contribution of underlying coronary artery disease and possibility of alcohol or drug intoxication.
Dr Botterill told Mr Richards further testing concluded alcohol or drug intoxication was ruled out as a contributing factor but coronary artery disease could not 100 per cent be ruled out.
"Although there were not additional findings in the examination of the heart tissues under the microscope that could confirm if there had been a heart attack," he said.
"It is still not possible for me to completely exclude the possibility that there had been an irregularity in a heartbeat that had caused ... light-headedness or dizziness and therefore causing her to then fall and strike her head upon a structure."
Ms Corless' daughter reached for tissues as Dr Botterill explained her mother's injuries.
When Mr Mosch asked Ferguson if he would like to enter a plea or say anything to the court he replied: "No your honour. I am sorry your honour."
The matter will stand trial in the Townsville Supreme Court at a date yet to be determined.
Originally published as Grisly details of elderly woman's death heard