Capricorn Highway sign near the Yeppen Round-a-bout.   Photo Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin  ROK260811ccap1
Capricorn Highway sign near the Yeppen Round-a-bout. Photo Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin ROK260811ccap1 Chris Ison

Witness saw ute driven dangerously after hammer attack

A MEMBER of the hammer attack victim's family saw the couple's Nissan Navara driving along the Capricorn Highway on the morning of the attack.

Jonathon Friehaut gave evidence by phone during the trial of Noa Ronnie Etheridge who has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and not guilty to assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in relation to the alleged assault on 56-year-old Koongal resident Kerry Gittins in her home on January 9, 2018.

Etheridge, who has pleaded guilty to other charges including unlawful use of a motor vehicle, took a Nissan Navara from the Lakes Creek Rd property after assaulting Ms Gittins with a hammer and drove the vehicle to Duaringa where he stole cigarettes, a lighter and a drink from the BP service station before driving off and being intercepted by police a short time later.

Ms Gittins is married to Mr Friehaut's wife's uncle.

He told the jury in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton yesterday that he was driving from his home at Cawarral to work at Tieri when he saw the Navara with its personalised plates on the Capricorn Highway between 6.30-7am.

The court heard Mr Friehaut was overtaken by the Navara west of Gracemere, going around a bend with an unbroken line in an 80km/h zone. The bend was before the traffic lights at the Nine Mile Rd intersection.

Mr Friehaut said he next saw the Navara west of Stanwell where it was pulling out of a side street on the left of the highway, attempting to join back on to the Capricorn Highway.

He said a few minutes later, the Navara passed him and turned left onto Warren Rd and went over a railway crossing.

Under cross-examination by defence barrister Andrew Hoare, Mr Friehaut said the driving was erratic.

"It was dangerous in the fact of going past me on a bend, not knowing what was coming the other way and being quite obviously in excess of the speed limit,” Mr Friehaut said.

The trial continues today with closing addresses this morning.



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