Father of murder accused tells Cairns court his son’s hands were ‘covered in blood’
Robert Wells and Elaine Gilbo both gave evidence for the prosecution at their son’s murder trial. (ABC News: Dom Vukovic)
The father of a man accused of killing his neighbour has told a court his son’s hands were “covered in blood” and looked like they had been “dipped in paint” after the alleged attack.
- Samuel Wells, 22, accused of fatally stabbing neighbour David McClelland
- His father testified against him on day one of his murder trial
- Court told Samuel changed his story with police several times
The Supreme Court in Cairns heard David McClelland, 42, was suffering from schizophrenia and living on a disability pension at the time he was killed.
Mr McClelland was found face down in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor of his Cooktown home in November last year.
Samuel Wells, 22, who was living in his parents’ house next door, is accused of stabbing Mr McClelland 13 times in the stomach, chest and neck after the pair had spent some time drinking together.
On the first day of his son’s murder trial, Robert Wells described Mr McClelland as a neighbour and a friend.
Robert Wells told the jury that on the day of the incident, Mr McClelland was at his house drinking with him and his son when an argument broke out.
“I was trying to watch country music on the TV … I was listening to that and they started [to play] rap music,” he told the court.
“I told them to turn it down but they wouldn’t listen.”
David McClelland had been drinking with Samuel Wells and his father, the court heard. (Supplied: McClelland family)
He said Samuel and Mr McClelland were “getting on OK” when they went outside together to listen to music on the verandah.
Asked by prosecutor Todd Fuller to describe what happened later that afternoon, Mr Wells said he continued to drink inside the house until his son returned home alone.
“His mother said, ‘What’s on his hands?'” Mr Wells said.
“It was just like they had been dipped in paint.
“I said, ‘It looks like blood to me’.”
Mr Wells said he was shocked and confused when he saw his son’s hands covered in blood.
He told the court that when he confronted Samuel about it, he replied: “I’ve just done old mate next door, you’d better go check on him”.
Mr Wells said he had thought it was a joke until he found Mr McClelland’s body.
“I started yelling out to Dave — there was no response,” Mr Wells said.
“I went towards the kitchen and stood in a puddle of blood and I saw him there.
Story ‘changed’ when told to police
The court heard that when emergency services arrived, Mr Wells had changed his clothes and altered his version of events several times when interviewed by police.
It heard Samuel initially advised police he had found Mr McClelland’s body after visiting him with the intention of making amends following an earlier argument.
Mr Fuller told the court Samuel later changed his story, telling police Mr McClelland came at him with a knife and pinned him to the ground, and that he stabbed Mr McClelland twice in self-defence.
The prosecutor said Samuel then told police Mr McClelland began stabbing himself and sliced at his own neck.
The jury was shown images of bloodied shorts and a singlet that police said were recovered from mangroves at a nearby creek, after the accused allegedly told police he had taken them off and left them there on the night of the incident.
The court also heard from a police officer who said the clothes had a spatter pattern that was consistent with a blood source in front of and below the person wearing the shorts.
Mr Fuller suggested this could mean the wearer of the shorts was standing up at the time.
Samuel’s mother Elaine Gilbo told the jury she noticed some blood on her son’s hands and recalled that her son directed his father to check on their neighbour, saying he could be dead.