Summerhill murder trial witness washed blood off hands, hid clothing to 'cover up' being at scene

A murder trial witness admitted to washing blood off his hands and hiding his clothing to avoid being linked to the crime scene.

Sean Darcy Watkins told a Launceston Supreme Court jury on Thursday afternoon he had been at the home of Summerhill man Peter “Fitzy” Fitzgerald after he was allegedly stomped to death by a friend during a drunken dispute.

Anthony Colin Finnegan has pleaded not guilty to Mr Fitzgerald’s murder.

Taking the stand, Mr Watkins said Mr Finnegan called him on the night the alleged victim died and admitted to fighting with him.

“He told me he got into a dispute with Mr Fitzgerald and Mr Fitzgerald had hit him three times,” Mr Watkins said.

“He said he warned him and had to drop him … he said he had given him three chances and the third time he snapped.

“I asked if Mr Fitzgerald was okay, Anthony said ‘he’s alright, I know what I’m doing’.”

Mr Watkins recalled going to the Summerhill unit with his friend Cameron Tattersall, who had been drinking with the accused and the alleged victim earlier that night.​

“I checked his pulse, he was cold, his face was swollen and all the front of his face was a bloody mess,” Mr Watkins told the court.

“I panicked, I didn’t know what to do … I didn’t want to attempt to resuscitate him because of how grossed out I was, and in shock, and the blood all over his face.”

After telling Mr Tattersall to call the police, Mr Watkins said he went into panic mode.

“I told him once you get off the phone to the ambulance, call the cops, I was never here, don’t f—-ing tell anyone I was here,” Mr Watkins recalled.

“I wiped the door handle, tried to cover up the fact I was even there … I wiped Mr Fitzgerald under the chin.

“I was scared.”

Leaving the unit, Mr Watkins told the court he went home, washed blood off his hand and hid the jumper he was wearing.

He then went to Mr Finnegan’s home a few streets away, and called the police.

Cross-examining Mr Watkins, defence lawyer Greg Richardson asked him to reiterate why he went to the alleged victim’s unit that night.

“You said you and Cameron were worried about him … as a matter of fact, Mr Fitzgerald was someone you didn’t like,” Mr Richardson said.

“It wasn’t that I didn’t like him,” Mr Watkins said.

“Did you and Mr Tattersall talk about the version of events each of you would give to police,” Mr Richardson asked.

“No,” he replied.

“Did you enter into agreement to mislead the police as to your involvement in this matter,” Mr Richardson continued.

“No,” Mr Watkins said.

“Did you ask him to leave you out of it and did he agree to do so,” Mr Richardson asked again.

“Yes,” Mr Watkins responded.

“Is it fair to say your purpose in going up to the Kerry Court unit was to steal Mr Fitzgerald’s [money],” Mr Richardson asked.

Mr Watkins said “yes”.

“And to make sure he was okay,” he said.

The trial before Justice Michael Brett will continue on Friday.

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