News State Western Australia Daughter ‘murdered over lighter’

Daughter ‘murdered over lighter’

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A senior barrister defending a man accused of stabbing his daughter to death during a row over a cigarette lighter has told a court that “these things sometimes happen”.

Kelvin Clive Hart,45, is on trial in the West Australian Supreme Court, charged with murdering Ricki-Lee Hart, 24, in December 2012.

Defence lawyer Tom Percy QC argued it was “a most unusual case” and insisted his client did not wilfully cause the knife to enter her body.

In his opening address on Monday he said there was no indication at the time that Ms Hart had been stabbed and she might not have known about it until she collapsed because there was very little blood.

He said his client had no reason to injure his daughter and had not lunged at her with the knife or tried to cover up any crime.

“These things sometimes happen,” he said.

When Hart was later asked if he had stabbed his daughter, he said he did not think so, Mr Percy said.

It was a “complete shock” to Hart to learn that she had been stabbed, Mr Percy said.

“The fact that she died was devastating,” he said.

Mr Percy said the pair generally got along well but had difficulty when Ms Hart caused disturbances and had previously broken windows in the unit when she lost control.

On the day she died, the court heard Ms Hart, who was visiting her father, spent time alone in her room and her father sensed it would be difficult to manage her.

After dinner, Hart cut two pieces of cake for himself and another woman in the living room while Ms Hart was arguing with him about cigarettes, Mr Percy said.

He said Ms Hart tried to use a toaster in the kitchen to light her cigarette but could not get it to work so Hart followed her and that was when things went “horribly wrong”.

Prosecutor Paul Yovich said not much force was needed to inflict the wound, and noted the tip of the knife was missing.

He said the pair had argued loud enough for their neighbours to hear before she was fatally stabbed.

The trial continues.