Alan William Delaney texted he was “going to snap” shortly before he allegedly murdered Aaron Baxter on Boxing Day 2019 after confronting him over a comment Mr Delaney believed Mr Baxter had made to his girlfriend suggesting he was going to go to a brothel.
The 53-year-old’s jury trial began in the Queanbeyan Supreme Court on Monday (14 February). Jurors heard that when Mr Delaney was told by police Mr Baxter had died after being assaulted under a bridge at the Queanbeyan River, he burst into tears.
“Please tell me that’s not right. Please tell me it’s a bad dream,” he allegedly said.
Crown Prosecutor Nerissa Keay alleged Mr Delaney had gone looking for Mr Baxter, 46, on the morning of 26 December 2019 and found him under the bridge in central Queanbeyan. He yelled at him and began punching him.
“You told my missus you were taking me to a brothel,” Mr Delaney allegedly said to him, accusing him of getting involved in their relationship.
Ms Keay told jurors she expected they would hear Mr Delaney repeatedly punched, kicked and kneed Mr Baxter, while Mr Baxter tried to flee from the assault and didn’t throw any punches back.
The fight occurred at about 8:30 am. Ms Keay said a person nearby told Mr Delaney there were witnesses around, so he walked away but continued to shout at Mr Baxter.
She expected witnesses would say they heard Mr Delaney allegedly shout lines like: “You stole two $50 notes from my wallet”, “I’m going to kill you”, and “I’m going to chop your f-king head off if you come near me again”. He also allegedly threatened to drown him in the river.
Ms Keay said when he left, Mr Baxter tried to get up but kept collapsing.
An ambulance arrived about 10 am and he was taken to Queanbeyan Hospital but went into cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at around 11 am.
Ms Keay said the cause of death was massive internal bleeding that started from a laceration to his spleen. She expected an expert witness would tell jurors the injury appeared recent and was consistent with blunt force trauma.
She said the Crown’s case was when Mr Delaney allegedly punched or kneed Mr Baxter, he caused the bleeding to his spleen which led to his death.
Mr Delaney called police himself on 27 December 2019 and admitted he had assaulted Mr Baxter to “teach him a lesson”, as well as threatening to kill him.
Ms Keay said before Mr Delaney found Mr Baxter, he had texted his girlfriend early in the morning of 26 December, including saying: “Now I’m going to snap”. Also, in a Facebook post, he said: “I’ve been used for the last time.”
Barrister Duncan Berents said there were several aspects of the case that were not in dispute: the fight had been the fault of his client, Mr Delaney, he had punched Mr Baxter, threatened him and had been upset and angry with both his girlfriend and Mr Baxter.
But he said jurors must consider what happened after Mr Delaney left the area, as well as his state of mind at the time of the fight.
Joseph Wiewiti told the court he spent Christmas 2019 with Mr Baxter, talking and drinking wine. Mr Baxter, who had been staying at a nearby hotel, came back the next day to the bridge where Mr Wiewiti had been sleeping in his car to say good morning.
He said Mr Delaney arrived and accused Mr Baxter of telling his girlfriend they were going to go to a brothel, but Mr Baxter replied: “No, Alan, I didn’t”.
Mr Wiewiti alleged he saw Mr Delaney knee Mr Baxter in the ribs and punch him in the head, making his head hit a concrete wall behind him.
He also saw Mr Baxter collapse face-first into a concrete pylon.
Mr Delaney pleaded not guilty to murder. Ms Keay told jurors if the Crown couldn’t prove the case for murder, they could consider an alternative charge of manslaughter.
The trial continues before Judge Desmond Fagan.