Shannon Neale, 33.
Shannon Neale, 33. File image from 2007

Group sex ends in murder: court

A GROUP sex encounter sparked an argument between a Rockhampton couple and ended in murder, a court heard yesterday.

Shannon Michael Neale allegedly stabbed his girlfriend, Sheila Ann Hicks, in the back, causing her to bleed to death at a North Rockhampton home.

During the hours prior to her death, many witnesses heard the pair arguing and said at times Ms Hicks was “absolutely hysterical”.

It's alleged she initially became enraged because of something that occurred between Neale and another group sex participant.

A urine test from Ms Hicks after her death showed she had a blood alcohol content of 0.216% when she died.

Yesterday a four-day murder trial began in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton.

Neale, 33, has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder relating to the November 24, 2008, incident.

Defence barrister Callan Cassidy, who was given a rare opportunity to address the jury yesterday after the Crown delivered its opening statement, asked the 10 women and two men to keep an open mind about Neale's state of mind at the time.

“Just because someone dies doesn't mean a crime has been committed. Our law punishes and protects members of society,” he said.

“I can't speculate about defences but I certainly ask you to concentrate on the evidence and how she (Ms Hicks) was behaving.”

Crown prosecutor David Morters said the day before the alleged murder a number of people, including Ms Hicks and Neale, were drinking at a Rice Street home.

He said due to the large amount of alcohol consumed by many witnesses, there were some inconsistencies in evidence relating to time.

Mr Morters said about 7.30/8pm Ms Hicks and Neale were involved in a sexual encounter with some others at the house in a bedroom.

“During the course of the encounter the deceased (Ms Hicks) became angry with the accused (Neale) because of what was happening between the accused and another lady participant,” he said.

“She left the bedroom at that time and was very angry towards him.

“That disagreement and arguments over other things like who had her cigarettes continued for several hours.”

Mr Morters said just after midnight the argument became so loud that two of the home's occupants came out of their bedrooms to see what was going on.

“They saw the deceased near the front screen door. She was naked and holding a knife,” he said.

The two residents, one being Marshall Malamoo, calmed the situation, brought Ms Hicks inside, took the knife from her and dressed her.

Mr Morters said Neale left the home.

He said later the people in the house heard knocking on the front door followed almost immediately by hearing Ms Hicks cry out, “He stabbed me, he stabbed me!”

“They came out to see the deceased moving towards them. Mr Malamoo has taken hold of her and she was falling down. There was a wound to her back on the right-hand side and a fair amount of blood. They could see the accused at the front door and screamed at him to get away.”

Mr Morters said following the incident Neale allegedly made comments about it.

At one stage he allegedly said, “She did it to herself; it was her fault,” and at another point he allegedly said, “She stabbed me so I stabbed her back”.

During the trial the court will hear evidence from a number of police, residents, neighbours and medical practitioners.

Mr Morters said an autopsy by pathologist Dr Nigel Buxton revealed Ms Hicks died from loss of blood after her aorta was perforated from a single stab wound on the rear of her torso.

Neale allegedly suffered a wound which required stitches on his arm.

Mr Cassidy said during the trial the jury would hear evidence that indicated Ms Hicks was behaving in a violent and aggressive manner leading up to the alleged incident.

“There was at least one confrontation where she was naked with a knife. She made offensive comments while brandishing a knife at him and other incidents where she threatened orally,” he said. The trial continues today.



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