A Mornington Peninsula man accused of murdering his neighbour after years of disputes has been committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Troy Anthony Taylor has pleaded not guilty to murdering Michael “Willy” Wilson in Hastings on July 5 this year.
During a two-day committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court which finished yesterday, the court heard the men’s wives had once been best friends.
But over the 17 years they had been neighbours, the relationship deteriorated over accusations of infidelity and other disagreements.
Mr Wilson’s wife Kim Scott gave evidence that her husband was attacked after Tracey Taylor — her former friend and the wife of the accused — had yelled abuse over the fence they shared.
Ms Taylor was affected by alcohol at the time, Ms Scott told the court.
It was after 7:00pm on July 5, when Mr Wilson had yelled back at Ms Taylor and instructed Ms Scott to retaliate, the court heard.
“He said ‘go smack her in the mouth’,” Ms Scott told the hearing.
“Tracey said ‘get out the front, we’re going to finish this once and for all’.”
The court heard Ms Taylor kicked and hit the back gate of Mr Wilson and Ms Scott’s property.
Mr Wilson told her to leave, yelling expletives at her, the court was told.
‘You’re gonna be okay’ friend tells dying man
Mr Wilson’s best friend, Joel Grass, gave evidence that he saw Mr Taylor run past him in his car which was parked in the driveway of Mr Wilson and Ms Scott’s home.
Mr Taylor swung what Joel Grass thought was a stick at Mr Wilson.
He died of a stab wound.
Police retrieved a handmade sickle — measuring about one metre in length, with the blade from garden shears attached at a right angle — from the home.
“As soon as he swung that thing I jumped out of my car and grabbed him,” Mr Grass told the court.
During the hearing it was revealed that the sickle with which Mr Taylor allegedly struck Mr Wilson was unlikely to have been the weapon used to kill him.
Mr Grass told the court in at times emotional testimony he pulled Mr Taylor off his friend and threw him to the ground.
He then called 000.
“I said to him ‘you’re gonna be okay’,” he said.
“He looked at me and said “I’m not going to make it’,” Mr Grass said.
Mr Grass had left a rehab facility the same day of the killing and was living out of his car at the home.
Tearful wife ‘should have gone outside’
Magistrate Michelle Mykytowycz was told Mr Wilson had methamphetamine in his system when he died.
The court heard police were on the scene almost instantly because a unit was attending a domestic violence call in a nearby street.
Senior Constable Rebecca Colton told the court she and another officer heard people screaming.
She thought “that kind of shriek” was “someone in extreme pain or something extremely bad had happened”.
“I need to get there quickly,” she said.
Senior Constable Colton said police were familiar with the home of Ms Scott and Mr Wilson.
Ms Scott told the court she and Mr Wilson had been together 23 years.
She admitted to being a hoarder and having ongoing mental health issues.
She was inside during the incident.
“I should have gone out there,” she said tearfully.
Mr Taylor told Magistrate Mykytowycz he was “not guilty” of the crime, after she told him there was sufficient evidence to be tested in a trial.
He will appear in the Supreme Court of Victoria in January.