Shaun Southern had been fishing earlier in the day, the court heard.
(Facebook: Shaun Southern)
A 45-year-old man used his heavy four-wheel drive as a weapon to drive head-on into another car in WA’s South West, killing one woman and seriously injuring another, a court has been told.
Shaun Troy Southern is on trial in the Western Australian Supreme Court accused of murdering Jennifer Pratt and attempting to unlawfully kill Karen Williams near Capel, 200 kilometres south of Perth, on February 18 last year.
In his opening address today, prosecutor Justin Whalley told the jury Ms Pratt, 61, had spent the day in the town of Busselton.
By 5:30pm she was dead.
“The reason she was dead was because she’d been killed by this man,” Mr Whalley said, indicating Mr Southern.
He said Mr Southern had been fishing on a local beach earlier in the day and he drove off after 4:00pm, dragging his camping awning along behind his car and leaving fishing and camping gear on the beach.
After forcing another oncoming car to swerve on the beach, he stopped and told the other driver — who inquired about the possessions he left behind — “Don’t worry about it, mate. F*** it. Take it all.”
Accused drove on wrong side
Mr Whalley said the accused then drove onto a bitumen road and onto Tuart Drive, where he allegedly drove towards several oncoming cars, forcing them to take evasive action.
Three young people in a car behind him started video recording him on a GoPro and an iPhone.
Mr Southern then made his way onto Bussell Highway — a major dual-carriageway highway connecting Perth and Bunbury — where he drove at times on the wrong side of the road, forcing oncoming cars to scatter left and right to avoid a crash, Mr Whalley said.
One car narrowly avoided his four-wheel-drive, but the car behind, being driven by Ms Pratt and with Ms Williams as her front seat passenger, was not so fortunate.
“He closed in, lined her up, and drove directly into her,” Mr Whalley said.
Ms Pratt braked hard but could not avoid the collision and died at the scene from her injuries. Ms Williams was taken to Bunbury Hospital with serious injuries.
The court heard Mr Southern was thrown from his car onto the roadway and appeared unconscious.
Positive drug test
Mr Southern tested positive to methylamphetamine, the court heard, and whether or not he intended to kill or cause serious injury would be the key issue at trial.
Mr Whalley argued if Mr Southern drove his car at high speed directly into another car, the only reasonable inference was he intended to kill the person in the other car.
“The accused used his heavy vehicle as a weapon to intentionally kill Ms Pratt or injure Ms Williams,” he said.
Mr Whalley said the fact Mr Southern was intoxicated was no excuse.
Jenni Pratt’s care was hit head-on by Mr Southern’s vehicle. (ABC South West: Anthony Pancia)
“A person can be intoxicated and still have an intent,” he said.
But Justine Fisher, for the defence, told the jury her client did not deny his role in the crash and was guilty of serious crimes, but not murder.
She said it was not possible to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he intended to kill Ms Pratt and Ms Williams or cause them life-endangering injuries.
Ms Fisher said his ability to form an intention would be something on which the jury would need to reflect, linked to the fact he was affected by methylamphetamine.