Man pleads guilty to Warrnambool wake stabbing

A WARRNAMBOOL mourner accused of stabbing another man at a wake yesterday pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury.

Matthew Allan Price, 30, of Merrivale Drive, appeared in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday for a committal mention after being charged with stabbing Stephen Bermingham on November 29 last year.

He pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury with alternate and less serious charges withdrawn by police.

The case was adjourned by magistrate Peter Mellas to the next sitting of the Warrnambool County Court starting on July 28.

Mr Price was also granted bail with the conditions he reside with his parents and not contact witnesses.

At the last court hearing a magistrate said Mr Price was lucky not to have killed the victim.

Mr Bermingham suffered life-threatening injuries. 

He was treated at the scene by paramedics, then stabilised at Warrnambool Base Hospital before undergoing surgery.

Detective Senior Constable Wayne Ryan, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, told the court there were three witnesses to the stabbing shortly after 7pm in the Reid Oval car park.

He said Mr Price had been to the funeral of a friend and the wake was held at the Warrnambool football club.

There was an altercation between Mr Price and Mr Bermingham inside the clubrooms before Mr Price was asked to leave. He was followed outside by Mr Bermingham.

Detective Senior Constable Ryan said the men argued and were on the verge of fighting, with Mr Bermingham “shaping up”.

Mr Price then produced a knife and stabbed Mr Bermingham, causing a laceration to his forehead and a stab wound to the left side of his chest.

Mr Price then fled the scene, chased by a man who could not catch him, and was arrested by police at 8.50pm. 

However, he was so intoxicated he was not interviewed until 7.30am the next day.

Yesterday Mr Price also pleaded guilty to other charges, including possessing cannabis, exceeding 100km/h (110km/h) and breaching his driver’s licence conditions by not wearing glasses or contact lenses.

He was convicted and fined $400 with $110 costs.

Police detected Price travelling east along the Princes Highway at 8.50pm on October 7 last year at 112km/h.

A search of his vehicle uncovered three zip-lock bags each containing 28 grams of cannabis as well as a small amount of powder cannabis and a tin with remnants of green vegetable matter.

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