Clifford strychnine case continues
GERVASE Laura Ballingall was meant to be going to the beach the night she met Bronte James Clifford and heard him die.
Ms Ballingall said she was standing under a Rockhampton house, directly below where she could hear people trying to resuscitate Mr Clifford after he allegedly collapsed from eating strychnine, a poison used to kill rats.
Instead of going to the beach on June 8 last year, Ms Ballingall went to a party in Rockhampton with Myles Edward Stritzke.
Ms Ballingall, 24, said she didn’t know any of the four or five men at the party, who were throwing glow sticks at each other when she arrived with Stritzke around 8pm.
Ms Ballingall said she saw Stritzke take a plastic clip-sealed bag from his pocket and leave it on a counter in the kitchen.
It’s alleged the powder inside the bag was strychnine, which Stritzke told people would give them a buzz but that too much could kill.
Stritzke is on trial in Rockhampton Supreme Court for manslaughter following Mr Clifford’s death.
The Crown case is that Stritzke is responsible for Mr Clifford’s death because he knew how deadly strychnine was.
Ms Ballingall gave evidence yesterday that she and two men smoked some marijuana in a bedroom at the house party.
Soon after returning to the lounge room, Ms Ballingall said Mr Clifford arrived, appearing “not all with it” and acting “a little hyper”.
Ms Ballingall admitted to the court that Mr Clifford rubbed her up the wrong way and she tried to tune him out.
She said she remembered Mr Clifford sitting at a table with Stritzke but couldn’t recall what they were talking about.
Ms Ballingall said out of the corner of her eye she saw Mr Clifford stand up, have a drink of something and heard him say something about going to the toilet.
She said he walked through the kitchen into the hallway and then she heard a thud.
“Someone said he’d tripped and Myles (Stritzke) was calling out to him to get a response.
“After that it all went sour.”
Ms Ballingall said she couldn’t see down the hallway but heard Stritzke yelling out: “Are you all right mate?”
When there was no response Stritzke went to see if Mr Clifford was okay, Ms Ballingall said.
“Then I could hear skin-on-skin slapping, as if he was possibly being slapped on the face or on the arm to try and get a response out of him,” she said.
“Then I think Myles called out to call an ambulance because he (Mr Clifford) was OD-ing.”
Ms Ballingall said she started having “a panic attack” and had to walk outside to the back steps.
She said when she “couldn’t take the sounds coming from the hallway” she moved underneath the house.
She described the sounds as “heavy thudding, like convulsions, sort of like an epileptic fit”.
Mr Clifford died at the scene.
The trial continues today.