Jury considers verdict in trial of trio accused of assault
AN IPSWICH court has heard how a 73-year-old man told a triple-0 operator he had been hit "seven million times" by men in his home.
During evidence given in the Crown case before a jury in Ipswich District Court, Salvador Almagro, a 75-year-old retired builder, said he was head-butted by Dieter Clarke, who is the son of his former girlfriend Cheryl Frost, causing the back of his head to hit a garage roller door.
It was alleged Clarke had earlier held him by the throat and Clarke's friend (brother-in-law) punched him in an alleged series of late-night assaults.
He'd also been prevented from leaving a downstairs bathroom, the jury was told.
"I said to the operator I've been bashed and I need help," Mr Almagro said in cross-examination by Mitch Rawlings, the defence barrister for Frost.
Dieter Andre Clarke, 42, from Hatton Vale; his mother Cheryl Kate Frost, 68, from Yamanto, and Bruce Edward Duncan, 50, from Gatton, went on trial charged with entering a dwelling in company/with intent causing damage at Bellbird Park on January 2, 2018; deprivation of liberty of Salvador Almagro; assault causing bodily harm; assault; and doing wilful damage.
All three accused have pleaded not guilty, with Ms Frost described as being a party to the assaults.
The trial, now in its second week, has heard all evidence and the jury is now considering its verdicts.
Two days before the incident on December 31, Mr Almagro said he'd given his then-girlfriend Cheryl Frost a week to move her belongings out of his house.
When he got home on the afternoon of January 2, he saw boxes of belongings in the tray of Frost's Holden ute. It was parked behind his vehicle.
Later that night when he was watching television, Mr Almagro said Frost let her son Clarke and Duncan into the home.
Mr Almagro said he was assaulted immediately by both men, with a series of punches from Duncan, and Clarke stood in front of him and grabbed him around the neck.
Later, when downstairs, Mr Almagro alleged he'd been head-butted by Clarke, and detained for several minutes in the bathroom.
Mr Almagro, assisted by a Spanish speaking interpreter, claimed Duncan punched him multiple times, with Clarke putting his hands around his neck "several times, not just once".
"It wasn't pleasant. That's why his mother said, do you want to kill him or what," Mr Almagro said.
"If he didn't let go when he did I wouldn't be here."
The Crown tended a photo of Mr Almagro's neck that purported to show bruising near the jaw line.
"How many times did Mr Duncan punch you upstairs," Mr Rawlings asked Mr Almagro.
"I couldn't count them. Too many," Mr Almagro said.
Mr Rawlings put it to Mr Almagro that while people were downstairs moving Frost's belongings to be taken away, he'd hit Frost on her arm, and that she said something like "don't hit me".
It was then, after hearing this, that her son burst open a locked door to come back in from outside.
"That is false. That is false. I've never raised my hand on anyone," Mr Almagro said.
"I'm 75. I've never hit a woman in my life."
Duncan, in evidence given from the witness stand, denied the multiple assaults, saying he had punched Mr Almagro just once after first being kicked by him in the upper leg.
The trial before Judge Dennis Lynch QC heard the elderly retiree made two triple-0 calls before 1am.
Mr Edridge put it to Mr Almagro that he had "charged" out of his chair toward Frost.
"Completely false," Mr Almagro said.
Mr Edridge said it was then Clarke who had tripped over a coffee table and landed on him.
"No, not true", Mr Almagro responded.
"Mr Clarke hopped off you and said something like I'm not here for this shit," Mr Edridge said.
"No this is false," Mr Almagro said.
"Mr Clarke never put his hands around your neck," Mr Edridge stated.
"Not true at all," Mr Almagro responded.
Medical evidence was also given relating to Mr Almagro's injuries and treatment by a doctor at Ipswich Hospital when he arrived in an ambulance at 2am.
The defence argued the only intention in going to the house was to help remove Frost's personal belongings
Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis said there was extensive communication between their phones in the lead-up to their arrival at the house, with Clarke sending a text to Frost at 9.09pm, saying 'stay by your phone'. And another at 9.27pm, saying 'open the door'.
The jury is considering its verdicts.