Man, 33, on kill charge

A DEVONPORT man, 30, became Tasmania's fifth alleged murder victim in 10 days after a stabbing late on Christmas Day.

He was Benjamin Murray Maxwell.

Mr Maxwell's flatmate, a 21-year-old man, is in hospital with a punctured lung after the incident at a block of units in Devonport.

Adrian Wayne Smillie, 33, also of Devonport, who was arrested soon after the incident, appeared in court yesterday charged with murder and attempted murder.

Police say Mr Smillie was also injured.

The Devonport death was less than a week after two prominent academics were found dead at their house at Mountain River, south-west of Hobart. A man has been charged with murdering the couple.

And on December 16, a man and a woman were found shot dead inside their Hamilton house. The alleged gunman was found with a head wound and is in hospital.

Devonport police and ambulance units had been called to a unit on the corner of Croft Avenue and Birch Street about 10.20pm on Tuesday.

Ambulance personnel treated both Mr Maxwell and his flatmate for wounds but Mr Maxwell was pronounced dead on arrival at Latrobe's Mersey Community Hospital.

The unit was one of six located on what was described by neighbours as a housing estate.

Detective Acting Inspector Stuart Wilkinson, of the Western District Criminal Investigation Branch, said the men were all known to one another, but were unrelated.

Police allege the three men had an ``altercation'' in the driveway in front of the unit, before all three men sustained injuries.

Neighbours alerted the police and tried to assist the men until emergency crews arrived.

The 21-year-old was taken to Burnie's North-West Regional Hospital where he was last night reported to be stable but suffering from knife wounds, including a punctured lung.

Detective acting Inspector Wilkinson said investigations were still being carried out and police wanted anyone who may have had information on the incident to come forward.

Mr Smillie appeared in a special sitting in the Devonport Magistrates Court yesterday.

He did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody to appear via video link tomorrow.

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