A MAN who pleaded guilty to murder said he never meant to hurt his long-term mate, but instead was trying to defend himself before he blacked out.
Cecil Paul Briggs took the stand to give his version of events in Armidale Supreme Court yesterday, after the attack on 47-year-old Douglas Bindley on Christmas Eve, 2012.
“Dougie was my mate,” Briggs told the court. “I didn’t want to hurt Dougie.”
The 43-year-old pleaded guilty to murder on Monday, forcing the end of a two week trial that heard from dozens of witnesses.
Briggs recalled his long-standing problem with alcohol but couldn’t be sure of how much he had drunk before he went to the victim’s Brown St unit on the afternoon of the attack.
“Do you have blackouts where you can’t remember what you did the night before?” Briggs’ defence barrister asked.
“Yeah, yeah,” Briggs said after telling the court he “just forgets things”.
Briggs rejected any assertions he had accused Mr Bindley of sexually assaulting his children, provoking the dispute between the pair.
“Dougie just started talking drunk talk, silly things,” he told the court.
“Then he’s just sort of come at me with the bat.”
Mr Bindley was admitted to hospital following the attack but died two days later after his condition deteriorated.
Briggs who had been charged and released on bail on Christmas Day, was re-arrested on Boxing Day before his charges were upgraded to murder.
Briggs said the pair struggled for a bit before he “got the piece of the chair,” telling the court Mr Bindley had threatened to kill him.
“I kept begging him,” Briggs said,
“I started fearing for myself ... I didn’t want to hit him.”
Briggs recalls striking the victim in the head once on the left ear but said he “panicked” and “blacked out.”
The Crown questioned Briggs’ version of events, and said the reason why he never saw the bat was because the victim never had the bat.
But Briggs rejected the question and said Mr Bindley “was too quick for me.”
The court heard the victim had suffered more than one wound to his head, a laceration to his right shin and bruises on his body, but Briggs said he had no memory of how the victim sustained the injuries.
“No, sorry ... sort of blacked out,” he said.
“Was it the case you in fact threatened to kill Doug Bindley,” the Crown questioned.
“I never accused Doug of anything,” Briggs explained.
“No, Doug attacked me on the chair for no reason.”
The crown prosecutor continued to pick apart Briggs’ evidence, questioning his self-defence claim as “something you invented after your arrest for murder” to justify the actions.
“No, sorry,” Briggs said.
The court will hear submissions on sentencing in July, before Justice Richard Button hands down his judgment.
“The offender’s bail is refused of course,” Justice Button said.