James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Accused killer says he was scared when victim jumped on his car

Warren Deane. Photo / Supplied
Warren Deane. Photo / Supplied

A Hamilton man caught dumping rubbish tried to drive away from the scene because he was frightened by an agitated neighbour who confronted him, a court heard yesterday.

William Ashton Thompson is on trial in the High Court at Hamilton for the manslaughter of Warren Deane on October 6 last year.

Mr Deane jumped on his car bonnet but fell off and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He died in Waikato Hospital five days later.

The court heard how Thompson had just moved into his Firth St unit and wanted to remove rubbish left there by previous tenants. He took a bag of rubbish to the end of Dey St, which he believed was council-owned land, to dump it there but was bailed up by an irate Mr Deane, who told him he was sick of people using the area as a tip.

While giving testimony yesterday, Thompson said Mr Deane berated him in his face for dumping his trash.

Thompson picked up the rubbish he had dumped and put it back in his boot and said he was leaving.

"It was just the way he was carrying on, it was the way he was raving and his hands were going around the place and the time it took him to get from there to there it didn't seem right," said Thompson. "I'm 63 years of age, I put his age around 40 and he's a bit taller than me and a lot more solid and he scared the s*** out of me."

Thompson said he tried to drive away from the scene but Mr Deane "acted like a cowboy" and jumped on his car bonnet.

"It looked like he was talking on his phone and I said to him, 'Get off I'm not stopping'."

He drove at "about 20km/h" some distance to Naylor St where he turned left. Thinking Mr Deane had jumped off his car and fearing for his own safety, Thompson said he did not stop to see if he was all right but drove straight home.

When a police officer came to his house later that night, he called out: "I'm the guy you have been looking for."

Dr Annette Frost, Waikato District Health Board senior medical officer, said Mr Deane was in the emergency department when he began vomiting and had blood coming out of his ears. He also had blood around his eyes and did not respond to several stimulation tests. The trauma had caused his brain to swell. He did not recover and was declared brain-dead on October 11.

In a police interview shown to jurors, Thompson asked the interviewing officer how Mr Deane was and he began crying when he was told that he was critically ill with a fractured skull. After the interview he was arrested and charged with failing to stop to ascertain injury.

The trial is expected to end tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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