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Echuca woman to face murder trial

Echuca woman Tracey Kerr was committed to stand trial for the murder of Doug ‘Dougie’ Barrett.

November 19, 2012 4:59am

Murder accused faces court in EchucaTracey Kerr was charged over the death of Echuca Man Dougie Barrett in May 2012.


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Echuca woman, Tracey Kerr, will stand trial for murder.

Ms Kerr, 41, of Freeman St was, on Friday, committed to stand trial for the murder of Doug ‘Dougie’ Barrett at his home early on May 26.

Ms Kerr pleaded not guilty at the committal hearing at Echuca Magistrates’ Court.

Magistrate Richard Wright found there was a case for Ms Kerr to stand trial in the Supreme Court.

In a committal hearing which lasted a little more than two hours, the court heard testimony from four witnesses: Mr Barrett’s wife Hazel Barrett, Ms Kerr’s son Daniel Kerr, police informant Melbourne Homicide Squad Detective Senior Constable Paul Rowe and forensic pathologist Sarah Parsons.

Mrs Barrett was the first to take the witness stand.

Answering questions from Ms Kerr’s defence barrister, Gavan Meredith, Mrs Barrett told of how her husband would often have drinks with friends in a shed in the backyard of their Pascoe St home, including on the night he died.

She told the court how Ms Kerr had been drinking with Mr Barrett the night he died, while she watched football inside the house before going to bed.

Mr Kerr told of how he had been at Mr Barrett’s house for a short time during the night he died.

‘‘They (Mr Barrett and Ms Kerr) were just having a couple of cans and they were laughing and talking,’’ he said.

He told how he, Ms Kerr and Mr Barrett went the bottle shop to buy some more drinks before he went home.

He said his mother was ‘‘a bit charged up — not drunk’’ when asked about Ms Kerr’s state when he left them.

However, in a statement to police after Mr Barrett’s death, he said when Ms Kerr returned home later she was ‘‘pissed — really off her head’’.

Mr Kerr told the court on Friday when his mother had returned home, she said to him ‘‘son, I’ve stabbed someone’’.

‘‘I asked her a couple of times who she stabbed and she told me,’’ he said.

When Mr Meredith asked him about her demeanour then, he said ‘‘she was sitting there like she didn’t know what she’d done. She was drunk, staggering and falling over’’.

On questioning from Mr Meredith, Mr Kerr told how his mother had dropped a knife on the kitchen floor.

Dr Parsons, who conducted forensic tests on Mr Barrett’s body after he died, gave evidence of her findings.

She told how Mr Barrett had injuries included injuries to both eyes, around his forehead and to the rear of his neck.

Dr Parsons said the stab wound to the neck had disturbed the spinal cord.

‘‘I don’t think you can ignore the stab wound,’’ she said.

‘‘In my opinion, that caused death. That, and the wounds to the eyes.’’

She said the stab to his forehead was ‘‘likely to have been caused by a sharp instrument’’.

She said ‘‘mild to moderate’’ force would have been needed to go through the skin in that area.

Under questioning from Mr Meredith, Dr Parsons also spoke of how her autopsy showed Mr Barrett had heart disease problems, including having had heart surgery previously.

Under questioning from Mr Meredith, Detective Sen. Constable Rowe spoke of the scene at Mr Barrett’s shed after his death, agreeing there was blood in several places.

The Echuca court room was packed with supporters, including both Mr Barrett and Ms Kerr’s families.

When she arrived at the court in a police divisional van, Ms Kerr banged on the vehicle’s window as family members yelled messages of support.

Police officers quickly whisked her into the court.

Ms Kerr smiled, waved and blew kisses to family members, including a grandchild, several times from the dock throughout the hearing, including just after the magistrate committed her to stand trial.

On the other hand, Mr Barrett’s family, including his daughter, sat quietly in the court room throughout the proceedings.

As Ms Kerr was led from the court house, family again yelled out to messages to her, including ‘‘love you Tracey’’.

As she was being put into the back of the van she stood up and again smiled and waved to her family.

As the police van left the court, family members walked behind, tapping on the window and again yelling out messages of support, as she yelled back ‘‘love you’’.

Ms Kerr was ordered to appear in the Melbourne Supreme Court on November 30 for a directions hearing.

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