‘I didn’t touch him’: Man denies pushing mate in fatal fall
A MAN who stayed in the same hotel room as a workmate who died after falling from a balcony has denied pushing him after the pair consumed prohibited drugs to mark an Easter long weekend.
Mareeba man Seth James Luhrs, 24, fell from the seventh floor of Rydges Esplanade Hotel about 1.30am on April 1, 2018, hitting steel awnings on the first floor.
He and Sean Clift, 22, spent the weekend in Cairns with friends. Mr Clift testified in the Cairns Coroners Court on Thursday that "I didn't touch him at all" after Joseph Crawfoot, counsel assisting Coroner Nerida Wilson, asked if he had pushed Mr Luhrs.
Mr Clift also said he did not encourage Mr Luhrs to jump and denied it being a dare.
"He (Mr Luhrs) was in his own world," Mr Clift said.
"I wasn't angry at him. There was no anger at all during the night between us."
The court heard the pair took LSD that was "stronger than usual" and MDMA before the fall from room 709. Mr Clift, who was inside the room with a broken arm, said he knew Mr Luhrs was on the balcony before he heard a "thud".
He said he thought it may have been Mr Luhrs falling but chose not to investigate because he was hallucinating.
Mr Clift, who is not facing criminal charges, sent Facebook messages to his friends, including one that read "Seth's dead" about the time of the fall.
He also called his sister because he wanted help for his broken arm and his distress about the drugs, rather than about having knowledge of Mr Luhrs falling off the balcony.
Mr Crawfoot suggested it was "outrageous" that Mr Clift spoke to his sister for nearly 2.5 minutes and did not suggest any concerns about Mr Luhrs.
Following the evidence, Mr Luhrs' sister, Tasmin Luhrs, gave an emotional reading of a family statement while her mother, Veronica Luhrs, stood next to her and held a framed photo of Mr Luhrs (above) .
"Seth constantly proclaimed the importance of family and indeed his care and concern for others was for us clearly the reason he remained in the Rydges Hotel room that night," Ms Luhrs said.
"Seth was a person who's laugh, cheeky smile and sense of humour would light up a room and have everyone in stitches," Ms Luhrs said.
"Regardless of what has been heard in court over the last few days or what the speculations have been, we as a family know in our heart Seth would never have taken his own life."
In his closing submission, Mr Crawfoot said that while some of Mr Clift's evidence was problematic, it was not at odds with other evidence.
Phillip Bovey, defence solicitor for Mr Clift, said Mr Luhrs' fall was accidental in which the "primary cause was gross intoxication by a very powerful hallucinogen"and that his client had no role in the fall.
Coroner Nerida Wilson said she ruled out suicide and will deliver her findings on Friday.
Originally published as 'Didn't touch him': Man denies pushing mate in fatal fall