News

Trial begins for Mooroopna murder

By Liz Mellino

The Supreme Court trial of a man charged with murder of another man at Mooroopna last year has started.

Mooroopna's Trevor Whybrow, who was 56 at the time, previously pleaded not guilty to the murder of Barry James Moffatt, 69, who died on May 27 last year.

Mr Moffatt was pronounced dead after sustaining facial injuries during an assault at a unit in McKean St, Mooroopna.

In his opening statement, Crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu addressed the jury of seven men and six women explaining Mr Moffatt had previously been dating Mr Whybrow's mother, Rose, but at the time of his death they were no longer seeing each other.

The court heard on the afternoon of May 27, Mr Whybrow, Mr Moffatt and Rose were having drinks at the home of Rose's current partner, who also lived in McKean St, for his 70th birthday.

Mr Porceddu said the group started drinking alcohol once it arrived at the address about 2 pm.

Mr Whybrow told his mother about 7.45 pm that he wanted to go home and she helped him back to her unit because he "appeared unsteady on his feet".

Mr Porceddu said Mr Moffatt and Rose's partner also followed the pair home and once inside Mr Moffatt helped put Mr Whybrow on Rose's bed.

The prosecutor told the court Mr Moffatt and Rose had a few cigarettes outside on the porch for about 30 minutes before Mr Moffatt went to the bedroom to check on Mr Whybrow.

Mr Porceddu said Rose heard voices, so she went inside to see Mr Moffatt lying on his back in the living room with Mr Whybrow standing over him "hitting him to the face with closed fists".

The court heard Mr Whybrow told his mother that Mr Moffatt had tried to sexually assault him.

Rose, who gave evidence during yesterday's hearing, said Mr Moffatt was "gurgling" and "laying there with his eyes shut" at the time.

Barry Moffatt died following the alleged assault.

The prosecutor told the court a decision was made to move Mr Moffatt outside onto the footpath before Rose's partner called triple zero.

Mr Porceddu said Mr Moffatt, who was lying outside the unit, had a number of injuries to his face near his left eye, upper lip and nose, and a large pool of blood near his head.

The court heard Mr Moffatt was pronounced dead at 9.02 pm.

Mr Whybrow was placed under arrest and taken to the Shepparton Police Station for interview where he told police he punched Mr Moffatt "about 20 times".

Mr Whybrow was charged with murder on May 28 and remanded in custody.

Mr Porceddu said the prosecutions case for murder relied on the accused punching the victim 20 times which he said was not a reasonable response for self-defence and was not necessary given the circumstances.

Mr Whybrow's defence counsel, David Gibson and Jarrod Van Arkadie, told the jury their case would address whether Mr Whybrow was acting in self-defence and what the intent was for his actions.

Mr Gibson told the jury Mr Whybrow believed he was being sexually assaulted and he responded to that.

Mr Gibson said they would address issues of intention and self-defence.

“In order to be guilty of murder you have to have murderous intent, intended to kill or cause really serious injuries,” he said.

“(Mr Whybrow's) asleep and he wakes to believe he is being sexually assaulted ... clearly he is angry and upset — try and imagine it from his perspective.”

The trial continues today and is expected to last for at least one week.

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