ALVA INQUEST: Cops, detective and key witness to take stand

 

 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14:

THE LEAD detective investigating a double stabbing at Alva Beach will continue his evidence today, after saying he had already formed the opinion that Dean Webber wouldn't be charged just days after.

Ayr CIB OIC Gavin Neal will be cross-examined on the third day of the inquest into the deaths of Thomas Davy and Corey Christensen.

Ayr CIB detective Gavin Neal will continue his evidence today. Picture: Evan Morgan
Ayr CIB detective Gavin Neal will continue his evidence today. Picture: Evan Morgan

It was revealed in evidence yesterday that the police crews at the Ayr station were held up attending the Alva Beach job as there was a drink driver in the station.

Two other officers working at Ayr station the night of the stabbing, Constable Noel Dwyer and Constable Hayley Manning, will give evidence this morning.

After midday, Louis Bengoa will start his evidence.

Mr Bengoa took Candice Locke on a buggy ride that ended in her injuring her shoulder, and was at Dean Webber's home when Mr Davy and Mr Christensen were stabbed.

He is a key witness who can further explain what happened around the moments his friends were killed.

 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13:

Three Townsville communication officers working the night Mr Davy and Mr Christensen were killed gave evidence, telling Cairns Magistrates Court that they believed the initial call for help did not seem like a serious job.

Senior Constable Michael Arope received the initial notification from QAS after Mr Webber's first call for an ambulance at 12.24am, October 1, 2018.

The QAS team advised police that Mr Webber told them he didn't feel safe, there were men outside his home, he was locked inside and Ms Locke had come off a buggy.

Police officer Senior Constable Michael Arope (left) took the stand on day two of the inquest at Cairns Court. Picture: BRIAN CASSEY
Police officer Senior Constable Michael Arope (left) took the stand on day two of the inquest at Cairns Court. Picture: BRIAN CASSEY

Paramedics were "staged" down the road at 12.33am, waiting for police to make the scene safe before they got closer.

Paramedic Emma Savatovic and her partner were the crew tasked to the incident at the Topton Street home, which was initially called in as a road traffic crash and a woman with a shoulder injury at 12.30am.

Ms Savatovic gave her version of events over the phone, saying they were advised by the communication centre to "stage" - a term used by QAS to wait away from an incident- and wait for police to attend as they believed alcohol was involved.

She said they pulled up the ambulance along Beach Road about 10 minutes after the job came through, about 500m from Mr Webber's home.

Double stabbing at Alva Beach. Picture: Shannen McDonald
Double stabbing at Alva Beach. Picture: Shannen McDonald

Here they waited until police drove past them more than 30 minutes later, followed them, and eventually arrived at the home at 1.17am where they found Corey Christensen clinging to life and Thomas Davy dead.

In that 30 minutes of waiting, Ms Savatovic said they followed up with their communication centre "several times" to see where police were.

About 1.03am, the job priority was ramped up after calls that people had been stabbed, and the communications officer told them the "assailant" wasn't at the scene.

Ms Savatovic said her partner received a phone call from the communication centre soon after, with information two men were lying near a road, and there was still no police available.

The communication centre asked the paramedics if they wanted to go in, or wait for police.

"We said no we would wait for police," Ms Savatovic said.

"We were surprised we were asked … normally under these circumstances it would have still been instructions to stage.

"We are not trained to respond to scenes where there are potentially armed offenders.

"We very much wanted to proceed, unfortunately we thought the risk to our safety was too great to proceed."

When police eventually arrived, Ms Savatovic ran over to Mr Christensen and her partner ran to Mr Davy.

She felt a very weak pulse in Mr Christensen, and tried to revive him. The men couldn't be saved.

Ms Savatovic was pressed by counsel for the Davy family, Chris Minnery, who questioned why they didn't do a drive by of the scene.

She said due to the position of the corner block house, it was impossible to discretely drive past.

Senior constable Arope, who was the assistant communication co-ordinator, logged the job with police as a code three, or "routine" job, saying at no stage did he think to heighten the priority to "urgent".

He did not take another look at the job, saying he didn't "micromanage" police crews once they received it.

"I received the job, put it on, did the checks and approved it … all of about two minutes," he said.

Deputy State Coroner Jane Bentley questioned Constable Arope's definition of "urgent", asking what would warrant an urgent, or a code two, job in his mind.

Constable Arope said he would have changed the code if he received information that the men had kicked the door down, or were armed.

"There wasn't too much information in there other than they were outside," he said.

A civilian communication operator, Kylie Biddell, was also working on the night of the stabbing, and notified Ayr police that there was a job for them.

Kylie Biddell (civilian communications) took the stand day two of the inquest at Cairns Court. Picture: by Brian Cassey
Kylie Biddell (civilian communications) took the stand day two of the inquest at Cairns Court. Picture: by Brian Cassey

She spoke with First Year Constable Noel Dwyer about 12.42am after QAS had called their centre following up how far away police were.

Ms Biddell said constable Dwyer was delayed as he was the only officer at the station and he had a drink driver in lockup.

About 12.53am, Ms Biddell logged new notes on the job log saying that the crew would attend once an objection to bail had been signed.

The job eventually becomes a code two, or urgent job, at 12.59am after more calls come in.

Sergeant Tania Childs was the communication co-ordinator on the night, but says she stands by the code three classification, despite QAS job notes stating it needed police to look at the job urgently.

Sergeant Childs said the communication teams often sought out more information from QAS about the level of urgency, saying there were opinions in the office that QAS always needed police help on jobs, and the versions of "urgent" differed between both organisations.

Constable Arope said police were expected to "hold their hands". "A lot of the time QAS won't attend an incident or a job unless we go with them," she said.

Ms Bentley questioned this, saying Sergeant Childs wouldn't know the number of jobs QAS attends without police.

Ms Bentley also said she observed in evidence that the police communication centre "gave fairly little weight" to advice they received from QAS.

Under cross-examination by counsel for the Davy family, Chris Minnery, he presses her about the time it takes police to get to the scene and why more wasn't done.

"It's way too long," she said.

Originally published as ALVA INQUEST: Cops, detective and key witness to take stand



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