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Katter at murder trial for support

Matthew Graham Thatcher, 24, of Charters Towers, has pleaded not guilty to murdering 25-year-old Chris Pawelczak in River St on October 24, 2009.
Matthew Graham Thatcher, 24, of Charters Towers, has pleaded not guilty to murdering 25-year-old Chris Pawelczak in River St on October 24, 2009. Lee Constable

BOB Katter may have taken his trademark hat off before entering the courtroom but there was no mistaking the independent and outspoken MP as he bowed to Justice Kerry Cullinane.

The Federal Member for Kennedy sat in the back of the Supreme Court in Mackay yesterday, as a murder trial entered its third day.

Mr Katter sat beside the family of the accused, Matthew Graham Thatcher, 24, of Charters Towers.

A spokeswoman for Mr Katter said he was there to support good friends in their time of need.

Thatcher has pleaded not guilty to murdering 25-year-old Chris Pawelczak in River St on October 24, 2009.

The Crown’s case is that the two men were involved in a brief altercation outside the NightOwl in Victoria St.

A short time later Pawelczak was walking home with a mate to Rivage Apartments when Thatcher allegedly drove up and got out of a car wielding a golf club; and at one point the two men simultaneously swung a fence paling and golf club at each other.

Yesterday the jury was shown pictures and diagrams of Pawelczak’s injuries.

Forensic pathologist Nigel Buxton said the injuries were consistent with being caused by a golf club and it was probable they were the result of a single blow.

Mr Buxton said the abrasion behind Pawelczak’s left ear at the base of his skull caused a massive haemorrhage and the brain to swell.

Pawelczak also had a large bruise to the back of his head; however, Mr Buxton said this could have been sustained when he fell to the ground.

The court has heard that Pawelczak slumped to the ground and Thatcher stood over him so Pawelczak’s friend, Michael Kester, kicked him in the face and Thatcher fell to the ground unconscious.

During her testimony yesterday, paramedic Sharon Reilly said she arrived at the scene at 5.01am and saw police attempting to resuscitate Pawelczak.

When paramedics took over CPR his heart wasn’t beating. They continued CPR all the way to the hospital with no response.

A bystander, Lee Fraser, also testified yesterday.

Mr Fraser said he had just come around the corner onto River St when he saw Thatcher standing over Pawelczak.

When he got close to Thatcher he started to run, so Fraser gave chase. Kester also ran after Thatcher.

Fraser said Thatcher pulled out a four-inch pocket knife and stabbed himself in the chest and neck up to a dozen times.

He then heard Thatcher say: “I’m dead. I’m going to die”.

Fraser said he pushed Thatcher with one hand, putting him into a spin, and Kester put out his leg and Thatcher fell to the ground.

Kester then took off his shirt and put it on Thatcher’s wounds, Fraser said. Thatcher didn’t threaten to stab anyone, he said.

The trial continues today.

Topics:  bob katter death fight mackay river st supreme court


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