THE 16-year-old daughter of a man allegedly murdered in Casterton broke down in court yesterday as she described the horrific events leading up to the death of her father.
Jessica McCombe gave evidence at a committal hearing in Warrnambool Magistrates Court into a double murder and an attempted murder in October last year.
The accused, Aaron Jamie Ball, 32, of Russells Street, Casterton, sat expressionless throughout day two of the hearing.
He has been charged with the stabbing deaths of Casterton’s Raymond McCombe, Warrnambool’s Toby Lynch and the attempted murder of Casterton’s Stephen Mark.
Miss McCombe told the court, via remote video link, that she went to Mr Ball’s house in Miller Street because he had been yelling things out about her deceased mother.
She said she then ran away when Mr Ball got out of the car and chased after her.
Miss McCombe told the court he tried to grab her around her neck and then grabbed her by her arm.
“I screamed out to dad and ran to my house,” she said.
Miss McCombe said her father, Mr Lynch and Mr Mark then ran past her and yelled that he couldn’t do that to a little kid.
She said she later returned to the Miller Street house and her father, Mr Lynch and Mr Mark were in the backyard.
She said Mr Mark came up the driveway and told her they had been stabbed and not to go in there.
Miss McCombe said Mr Ball’s sister Chanteal was in the front yard filming the incident.
Defence counsel Andrew Graham asked if she saw where Mr Ball was and Miss McCombe sobbed as she said he was stabbing her father in the backyard.
Miss McCombe told the court she saw Mr Ball was near her father when he was hit by a car driven by Mr Ball’s mother Dianne Hutchins.
She said it then looked like Mr Ball was hugging Mr McCombe but he was stabbing him.
Miss McCombe said Mr Ball had one arm around Mr McCombe and the other arm was stabbing him in the back.
“I could see him well enough to see he was stabbing my dad,” she said.
Miss McCombe said she heard Mr Ball’s mother telling him to kill her father.
She said there was an earlier occasion when Mr Ball was running after her and a friend with a knife and had shone a torch into their bathroom window and the backyard.
In earlier evidence heard yesterday, Mr Mark said he went to the Miller Street house to calm the situation down.
While being cross-examined by Mr Graham, Mr Mark became frustrated and stormed out of the witness box, asking if he was going to continue to be asked stupid questions “because this f...head,” referring to Mr Ball, had stabbed someone.
When court resumed, Magistrate Stephen Myall said Mr Graham’s questions were relevant to the evidence being provided.
Mr Mark said he had a memory of being hit in the side more than once and also in the back
In his statement to police Mr Mark said he’d tried to hit back but had no energy and missed.
He said when he went into the front yard he saw Mr Lynch holding his stomach and heard Mr McCombe’s partner Janelle Lovell screaming.
Senior Constable Shane Kelly, from Casterton police, told the court he responded earlier in the evening to a call that there had been men threatening Mr Ball.
Senior Constable Kelly said when he went to the McCombe house it was alleged that Mr Ball had a firearm.
He said when he spoke with Mr McCombe, Mr Lynch and Mr Stephen he could smell alcohol on them but they did not appear overly intoxicated.
He told the court that Mr Ball had previously reported threats made to him, which police couldn’t substantiate and were hard to believe.
The hearing continues today.