Kate Stone murder committal: Details of Darren Reid's dying declaration read to court as Stone pleads not guilty

Kate Stone, 40, required an ambulance during Wednesday's hearing after she fainted in the dock. Picture: DARREN HOWE
Kate Stone, 40, required an ambulance during Wednesday's hearing after she fainted in the dock. Picture: DARREN HOWE

A WOMAN accused of burning her partner to death in their Long Gully home has pleaded not guilty to murder and will stand trial in the Supreme Court next year.

Kate Stone, 40, appeared at the final day of her committal hearing in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday charged with the murder of Darren Reid, 45, on December 18 last year.

The court heard details of a “dying declaration” made by Mr Reid.

While being transported to hospital by ambulance, Mr Reid allegedly told a Bendigo police officer that a man threw a can at him and he “got lit up”. He made no mention of Stone’s alleged involvement.

Mr Reid died in hospital the following the day.

In a statement, the police officer recounted the conversation in which Mr Reid described the man as late 20s or 30s, and that it “might have been the same guy who attacked me and the other half a couple of weeks ago”.

“[t was] dark, a can got thrown, I opened the door and I got lit up,” the conversation read.

Detective Leading Senior Constable Michael Cashman said detail of the conversation was “scant” and that other evidence disproved this theory.

Stone alleged that another man, Jason Baxter, was responsible for Mr Reid’s death. The court heard Baxter had earlier visited the home of Mr Reid and Stone with several other men after they moved to the neighbourhood.

Police on the scene in Derwent Drive, Long Gully, on December 19. Picture: NONI HYETT

Police on the scene in Derwent Drive, Long Gully, on December 19. Picture: NONI HYETT

Mr Baxter – who is currently serving a sentence in Port Phillip Prison – was due to give evidence on Wednesday but an overnight fire at the jail meant it was in lockdown and he could not be brought to Bendigo.

He will give evidence at a later date.

Mr Baxter was living with Trevor and Gale Arthur in Golden Square at the time of Mr Reid’s death.

Ms Arthur said Mr Baxter was working in her front yard on the night and she did not notice him leave their premises.

“I could say that I knew he was constantly in my front yard or driveway for the majority of this time,” she said.

Mr Arthur said Mr Baxter was at their house at various times in the evening, but it was common for him to come and go as he pleased.

Mr Baxter told police he was buying frozen coke from McDonald’s when Mr Reid was set on fire, but he could not be seen on CCTV footage from a nearby outlet.

A forensic scientist detailed Stone’s DNA on a tin found nearby, but not on the lid.

A 4-litre container for spray painting was found nearby.

Towards the end of the hearing, an ambulance was required in the courtroom after Stone fainted. She was treated in the court building and the hearing continued afterwards.

She will appear at a directions hearing in the Supreme Court in Melbourne on December 11.