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Perth father Charles McCarthy’s screwdriver death was ‘freak and tragic accident’, court told – ABC News

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Updated February 11, 2019 19:32:35

A Perth woman who watched her husband’s lifeless body “crumple” after he was allegedly stabbed in the temple with a screwdriver has told the court how a comment perceived as racist escalated into a fight with fatal consequences.

Key points:

  • Charles McCarthy, his wife and a colleague got into a fight with Andrew Doan
  • Mr Doan was armed with a screwdriver as he approached Mr McCarthy
  • He died from a stab wound to the head, which Mr Doan said was a ‘tragic accident’

In the early hours of December 23, 2017, Charles John McCarthy was leaving a Christmas party at the Swan River Yacht Club in East Fremantle with his wife and a work colleague.

At the same time, Andrew Doan was fishing near Riverside Road with a friend.

The parties crossed paths and words were exchanged, which Mr Doan interpreted as racist.

Mr McCarthy’s wife, Nicole McCarthy, told the District Court in Perth Mr Doan had pursued the group, running towards them holding a screwdriver and threatening them.

“He got up to us really fast,” Mrs McCarthy said.

“He seemed intent on getting to us as quickly as possible.”

A verbal fight broke out, with Mr Doan accusing the men of being racist, and the men denying they had said anything offensive.

“It was so confusing. I didn’t know why he was so angry,” Mrs McCarthy said.

She told the court she had repeatedly tried to break up the fight before her husband pushed past her and approached Mr Doan.

“I was yelling at Charlie ‘you’ve got two kids, you’ve got to stop’,” Mrs McCarthy told the court.

“Then I just saw him go down. His legs were bucking under him. He crumpled. I thought he’d been punched.

“Charlie’s head rolled to the side and I saw a puncture mark above his ear.

“That was when I realised he’d been stabbed by something.”

Death was a ‘tragic accident’

Both parties accuse the other of being the aggressor in the fight.

Mr Doan’s lawyer, Michael Perrella, told the court his client had not deliberately stabbed the victim and had instinctively raised his hand, while holding the screwdriver, to cover his face.

“In a freak and tragic accident, the deceased man impaled the left side of his head into that screwdriver,” he said.

“This is not a case of murder, this is not a case of manslaughter.”

Mrs McCarthy attempted to resuscitate her husband as he lay bleeding on the side of the road, but he died in hospital the following day as a result of a severe brain injury.

The trial has been set down for six days.

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, courts-and-trials, perth-6000, east-fremantle-6158, wa

First posted February 11, 2019 19:31:07

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