4 May 2022

Cousin 'cradled' 18-year-old after he died in Weston Creek skatepark fight

| Albert McKnight
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The scene of the police investigation at the skatepark at Weston

The scene of the police investigation at the skatepark at Weston Creek. Photo: Michael Weaver.

A murder trial has heard a 16-year-old ‘cradled’ his 18-year-old cousin when he died at the Weston Creek skatepark and thought, as he had just been stabbed during the brawl at the site, that he would die himself.

Recorded interviews with police were played to jurors on Tuesday (3 May) as part of the ACT Supreme Court trial against the then-15-year-old boy accused of murdering the 18-year-old, which started last week.

Twelve people converged at the skatepark in three cars in the early hours of 27 September 2020. During the brawl that followed, the 16-year-old was stabbed in the back by the accused, who has admitted committing that particular attack.

In the interviews, the 16-year-old said he was at the scene with a friend when he was told the 18-year-old was dead.

As he described to police how he ran and “cradled him”, he began sobbing.

“We just didn’t know what to do,” he said in the next interview.

“I grabbed his face and tried to wake him up.”

He said he went to a nearby McDonald’s Restaurant and “prayed to God” he’d find a paramedic, but “there was no one”.

He tried to return to his cousin but collapsed on the way while on the phone to an ambulance and thought, “I’m gonna die here”, as he couldn’t stand up and his vision went blurry.

The 16-year-old “blacked out” and woke up in hospital. He had stab wounds to his back and leg, a black eye, bleeding from his nose and cuts to his face.

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He told police he had been at a small gathering at his home the night before the incident, drinking Corona and Great Northern beers, when he got into an argument over Snapchat with one of the other soon-to-be brawlers.

While it was happening, the 18-year-old texted him and asked if he was alright. The 16-year-old said he didn’t know how his cousin found out about the argument in the first place, but he went over to his house.

The 16-year-old said he was so angry when they were driving to the skatepark he was “screaming”.

“There was a point when I didn’t even care if they had guns on them,” he said.

“I was so angry. I couldn’t breathe properly.

“[The 18-year-old] said to me, ‘Calm the f-k down or I’m turning around’.”

The 18-year-old also told him he was upset because he had seen how upset his cousin had been.

Last week, jurors heard from the 18-year-old’s parents, during which his mother said the 16-year-old “completely idolised the floor that [my son] walked on” and they spoke nearly every day.

In the interviews, the 16-year-old said his group had a “plastic machete” they took to use as “intimidation”, but it was just an “imitation” that was used to “pop bottles” and do other “kid stuff”.

He said they were “boxed in” by other cars when they arrived at the skatepark in the 18-year-old’s two-door Toyota 86.

“I didn’t even have time to get out of the car. They just pulled me out,” he said.

“I was on my hands and knees, getting kicked and punched.

“I saw [the 18-year-old] on the ground and I thought he was just knocked out.”

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The 16-year-old said he was stabbed as soon as he was pulled out, first in the back, then seconds later in the leg.

He also said he went into “defence mode” and didn’t remember if he fought back.

He said he ran off and met up with one of his friends who also fled. Then when they returned to the car park, they found the 18-year-old lying on the ground next to his car, which had its windows smashed.

The trial continues before Chief Justice Lucy McCallum.

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It’s unfortunate that the media coverage of this tragedy keeps emphasizing the skate park in the headlines. It makes it sound like the skate park was implicated. This incident happened in the early hours of the morning in a parking lot. I hope nobody gets the wrong impression. Skate parks are excellent public facilities with vibrant and welcoming communities.

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