Hicks trial hears of backyard intruder

IN REVIEW: The Harley Hicks trial - day by day

ÚPDATE: A SET TOP box found to be carrying the DNA of a murdered baby was stolen from a property Harley Hicks admitted to being at on the night of the child's death, the Supreme Court has heard.

Ten-month-old Zayden Veal-Whitting was found bludgeoned to death and laying in a pool of blood by his mother in the early hours of June 15, 2012.

Casey Veal told the court her son’s face was swollen and bruised and he was unresponsive.

Harley Hicks, 21, of Long Gully, has pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated burglary and theft.

Jackson Street resident John Good, who lived opposite Ms Veal’s Eaglehawk Road home, told the court he saw commotion across the road from him on the morning of June 15.

He went and spoke with police, and upon his return noticed the vehicles at his property had been looked through – the glove boxes were open, and a set top box had been removed from his ute.

Crown prosecutor Michele Williams SC earlier told the court Hicks admitted going into the house at 15 Jackson Street.

The court has heard the set top box stolen from Jackson Street had traces of a DNA profile that matched that of Zayden.

The court has also heard from Duncan street residents who found an intruder on their property about midnight on June 14.

Novak Vucinic told the court he went outside on the night of June 14 after his partner found the back gate propped open.

Mr Vucinic went to look in his shed and as he turned, someone ran past him through his backyard.

He gave chase, but lost the person at Bolt Street.

Mr Vucinic said the person was wearing a light hoodie, dark sneakers, dark trousers and a bag.

“After I lost sight of him I found the sneaker on the corner and then when I got closer to our driveway there was another sneaker so I picked the one up on the corner, found that other one there and then Jen (his partner) said to me ‘by the way there's a torch just near the gate, a yellow torch’ which was apparently a CFA torch there,’’ he said.

Mr Vucinic’s partner Jennifer McKinley said she saw someone who was wearing a light grey hoodie, dark pants and had ‘’big, dark eyes’’.

Havilah Road resident Robert Cox also told the court he heard his dogs barking about 12.35am and got up to find his rear security door propped open with a pair of sneakers. Gates to the property had been left open, the shed had been entered and a car door was open.

Mr Cox said the glovebox was open and had been rifled through. The following day he noticed a claw hammer and jimmy bar missing from the shed.

Shane Reid, who lived in Wilson Street, said he arrived home on the morning of June 15 to learn an X-box, games and a phone were missing from his shared house.

Meanwhile, the girlfriend of Hicks' older brother Joshua Hicks, said she saw Harley leave home on June 14, 2012, wearing a grey hoodie, black shoes and a shoulder bag.

Danielle Densley said Hicks “always carried a bag on him''. She said he returned about 2.30am the following day. Ms Densley said Hicks’ twin brother Ashley visited their home “every now and then’’ but when cross examined by defence counsel David Hallowes, recalled earlier telling police he visited the house “heaps’’.

EARLIER: A HOUSEMATE of the man accused of killing baby Zayden Veal-Whitting has told the Supreme Court she saw him leave home on June 14, 2012, wearing a grey hoodie, black shoes and a shoulder bag.

Zayden was found bludgeoned to death and laying in a pool of blood in his cot  in the early hours of June 15, 2012.

Harley Hicks, 21, of Long Gully, has pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated burglary and theft.

Danielle Densley, the girlfriend of Hicks' older brother Joshua Hicks, today told the court Harley Hicks left the Green Street house they shared about 8.30pm on June 14.

She told the court Hicks “always carried a bag on him’’ and was wearing a grey hoodie, black shoes and a shoulder bag when he left.

She told the court Hicks returned about 2.30am the following day, when she heard him knock on the front door of the house.

She said Hicks was wearing the same clothes he left in, gave her a cigarette and put $180 on the table.

The court has also heard from Duncan street residents who found an intruder on their property about midnight on June 14.

Novak Vucinic told the court he went outside on the night of June 14 after his partner found the back gate propped open.

Mr Vucinic went to look in his shed and as he turned, someone ran past him through his backyard.

“I just turned around and then the next minute a person came running past on the right hand side of me and started running up the back yard and it took about two or three seconds for me to realise what was happening and I gave chase,’’ he said.

“And I gave chase up the back yard, he pushed open the gates, flew out, when on the side of the cars which were parked in the driveway up to the footpath of the driveway. 

“He turned left, I was still chasing him and I gave chase until Bolt Street. 

“He turned left into Bolt Street, I was still after him and I just - I lost him as he turned that corner and went down Bolt Street.’’

Mr Vucinic said the person was wearing a light hoodie, dark sneakers, dark trousers and a bag on the side of his body.

“After I lost sight of him I found the sneaker on the corner and then when I got closer to our driveway there was another sneaker so I picked the one up on the corner, found that other one there and then Jen (his partner) said to me ‘by the way there's a torch just near the gate, a yellow torch’ which was apparently a CFA torch there,’’ he said.

Mr Vucinic’s partner Jennifer McKindley said she saw someone who ‘’looked like a kid’’ wearing a light grey hoodie, dark pants and had ‘’big, dark eyes’’.

The trial continues.

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