‘Homicide by heart attack’ alleged in bird feed dispute
POLICE will allege 60-year-old Bradley Ward died from a "homicide by heart attack" after his neighbour flew into a "vicious rage" over a trivial dispute and attacked him, kicking him in the head and bashing him with a broom stick.
Trevor Dale Wheeler, 48, today applied for bail in the Brisbane Supreme Court after he was charged with the manslaughter of Mr Ward who died in the driveway of his Labrador home two weeks ago.
The Crown opposed Wheeler being granted bail, saying there was a concern he may reoffend and there was evidence he had chased another man down the street while armed with knives in 2019.
The court heard the incident on November 18 was sparked by a petty dispute which The Courier-Mail understands was related to the feeding of neighbourhood birds.
"The medical evidence in this matter is that it was homicide by heart attack, a heart attack bought on by the assault of the applicant," the prosecutor said.
"There is simply no evidence available at this stage to support the assertion made by the applicant that a spontaneous heart attack independent of the assault would have occurred."
The crown submitted that Wheeler was "clearly the aggressor" in the dispute.
"The concerning feature of this application is the continued assault by the applicant while the deceased was lying in the gutter," the prosecutor said.
"You can see he's not fighting back, the deceased was using his hands to protect his face and there was a sustained and continued assault by kicking in the head multiple times.
"Additionally of course is the moment in time when the deceased assisted by his elderly mother attempts to return to his house and while his back is turned the applicant retrieves a weapon and continues to assault him."
The court heard the incident was captured on video which was played to Justice Soraya Ryan in a closed court and sealed on the file.
"This is in my submission a vicious and sustained assault which ultimately resulted in the death of the deceased," the prosecutor said.
"The catalyst for this offending is of course a minor neighbourhood dispute and in my submission an innocuous question by the deceased caused the applicant to fly into a vicious rage and launch the assault on the deceased."
Defence barrister Damien Gates said Wheeler proposed to live in Rockhampton if granted bail and said he suffered from anxiety and depression.
He said there was a "real possibility" Wheeler would spend too much time in custody if not granted bail and said it may be the case he could be charged with a lesser offence.
"My client has now spent 14 days in custody," Mr Gates said.
"That would be a lesson to him that any breach (of bail) would mean a return to custody."
Justice Ryan raised concerns over Wheeler's mental health and comments he had made to watch house staff saying he "wanted to die".
She said she was not satisfied she had enough information about Wheeler's mental health or about the cause of Mr Ward's death to make a decision about the risk he posed to the community or committing further offences.
Justice Ryan adjourned the application to allow counsel more time to gather the medical evidence.
Wheeler will remain on remand.
Originally published as 'Homicide by heart attack' alleged in 'vicious' bird feed dispute