Woman tells court of night partner killed by flatmate

THE partner of a murdered Coffs Harbour man has told a court harrowing and graphic details of how she tried desperately to save his life before he bled to death in front of her.

Robbie Joseph Charles, 32, was killed on February 1, 2014, outside his unit at Heron Ave on the Gold Coast.

His flatmate, Paul Gathercole, 42, was charged with murdering the man he described to police as being a top bloke and his best friend.

Mr Gathercole, who is HIV positive, pleaded not guilty to murder on Wednesday in the Brisbane Supreme Court shortly before his trial got under way.

Crown prosecutor Michael Lehane told the court Mr Charles, his partner Vanessa Heath and Mr Gathercole attended a function together during the day before heading to the Nobby's Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

He said all three had been drinking and were experiencing varying levels of intoxication.

"Mr Charles and Ms Heath left the surf club and caught the courtesy bus home at around 10pm," he said.

"What precisely happened when Mr Gathercole got home is unclear.

"But between 10.20pm and 10.30pm, neighbours heard people arguing over a dog.

"A short time later neighbours heard a woman screaming ... 'Oh my God! Oh my God! What have you done? Someone call an ambulance!'"

Mr Lehane said Ms Heath would give evidence saying she woke up on the couch and saw Mr Gathercole standing near her with a large blood-soaked knife.

He said she would say Mr Gathercole told her he had done something really wrong.

"Mr Charles was pronounced dead in his driveway at 10.55pm," he said.

"Mr Gathercole told police he did not know what happened and that he just 'schized' out and he did not know why."

The court heard Mr Charles died from a single stab wound to his left lower abdomen that completely severed the main artery, resulting in his bleeding to death.

Ms Heath told the court she awoke to find Mr Gathercole standing about two metres away from her with the 27cm butcher's knife.

She said she left the unit, where she found Mr Charles lying on the driveway.

"I saw Robbie sprawled out on the driveway, and he was moaning," she said.

"I ran over to him and noticed a huge wound to his stomach.

"All his organs and intestines were outside of his body, and I tried to put them back inside him to stop the bleeding.

"I could not manage to do that, so I took off my shirt so I could put pressure on the wound."

The court heard Ms Heath and a neighbour performed CPR on Mr Charles until emergency services arrived moments later.

The trial before Justice Jean Dalton continues. - APN NEWSDESK.


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