The man blamed by murder accused Kate Stone of killing her partner has told a Supreme Court jury he was not in the area the night of the fatal attack – because he fled after committing an armed robbery hours earlier.
Jason Baxter gave evidence in the trial of Ms Stone, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of her partner, Darren Reid, at their Long Gully home on December 18, 2016. The court has heard Ms Stone and her daughter named Mr Baxter as Mr Reid’s attacker.
Mr Baxter told the court he committed an armed robbery at a Jason Street, Long Gully address about 4.30pm that day. He said he was currently in prison for this offence.
He said he then picked his son up and they spent most of the night driving around Bendigo, including visits to friends in North Bendigo, before he took his son home in the morning.
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Mr Baxter told the court he had been to Mr Reid and Ms Stone’s Derwent Drive home only once, when looking for his niece with his brother-in-law Paul Gibson.
In a recorded police interview played to the jury, Mr Baxter said the only thing he knew about that address was Mr Gibson and Benjamin Thatcher, his girlfriend’s brother, had been involved in an altercation there in relation to a “run-in” between children.
He said he had “never laid eyes” on Mr Reid or Ms Stone and had never been to their home, but later told police he thought he had been there with Mr Gibson, looking for his niece.
When defence barrister Peter Kilduff asked why he had not told police about having been to Mr Reid’s home before, Mr Baxter said he intended no deception and told them when he remembered.
Mr Baxter rejected Mr Kilduff’s assertion he had told “a lot of lies” in his police interview.
“Only thing I missed out was the armed robbery – I didn’t want to implicate myself in a crime I didn’t think I’d get arrested for,” he said.
Mr Baxter said the last place he was going to be was Derwent Drive and around the scene of the robbery.
During cross-examination, Mr Baxter said he had never been to Mr Reid’s address regarding drugs.
The court heard Mr Baxter had a record of defensive homicide.
Long Gully resident Glenn Anderson also gave further evidence. The court heard Mr Anderson told police he did not know a Darren Reid.
Mr Anderson told the court he was at Mr Gibson’s house on November 27, 2016, when he and Mr Thatcher went to Ms Stone and Mr Reid’s home.
He said he later followed, but by that time they were leaving the property, and he did not set foot on it.
On Monday, Narelle Neiwand told the court she visited Ms Stone on December 18, 2016 to discuss the splash park incident, which involved their two sons.
Ms Neiwand said Ms Stone told her about a later incident in which three people, including a Jason Baxter, had arrived at her home. She said it frightened Ms Stone.
Ms Neiwand said Ms Stone did not name her ex-partner, Mr Thatcher, as being involved.
The trial continues.
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