Balloons mask the horror which unfolded at the Fitzroy St party where a 37-year-old was stabbed by a 38-year-old Nanango man. Photo: Clive Lowe / South Burnett Times
Balloons mask the horror which unfolded at the Fitzroy St party where a 37-year-old was stabbed by a 38-year-old Nanango man. Photo: Clive Lowe / South Burnett Times Eloise Handley

Engagement party memorable for all the wrong reasons

A BACKYARD party organised to celebrate the engagement of two young women should have been a memorable event for all those who attended.

It was certainly memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

Less than two hours after celebrations got underway the father of one of the young women was dead and her next door neighbour had been charged with his murder.

Nanango man Stephen Joseph Doyle, 41, pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday to murdering Laidley man Michael Tomsen, 37, at the party in Nanango on September 3, 2011.

Crown Prosecutor Michael Byrne told the court the party was far from the planned festive event.

"Stephen Doyle stabbed Michael Tomsen several times in the chest, killing him," he said.

"Doyle was invited to the party in the week prior to the event and arrived around dusk with two other people.

"By his own admissions to police he had consumed a large amount of alcohol in the afternoon before attending the event.

"The three of them wandered around for a bit before they headed underneath the house to play a game of pool with the two women who were celebrating their engagement."

Mr Byrne said it was at this stage things started to unravel.

"At some stage they were asked to stop playing pool and to leave the party," he said.

"As they were leaving a verbal altercation occurred in the front yard which became quite heated.

"The altercation then turned violent."

Mr Byrne said witnesses would describe in detail about how events escalated that tragic evening.

"The Crown does not deny the fact that Mr Tomsen was involved in the altercation," he said.

"Several witnesses will tell you they saw Mr Doyle enter his house and come back out armed with a knife, or according to some witnesses, several knives.

"Other witnesses will then tell you they saw Mr Doyle stab Mr Tomsen several times in the chest while he was standing up.

"Others will tell you they did not see Mr Doyle stab Mr Tomsen, but saw him hovering over the top of Mr Tomsen after he fell to the ground."

Defence barrister Kim Bryson urged jury members to weigh up all aspects of the case that will be presented in court before forming an opinion.

"I ask that you pay careful attention to the evidence," she said.

"I also ask that you pay particularly close attention to any evidence surrounding alleged intent."

The trial before Justice Ann Lyons is expected to last six days.


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