A court has heard what neighbours saw when they found Rosemary Russo lying in a pool of her own blood.
A court has heard what neighbours saw when they found Rosemary Russo lying in a pool of her own blood.

Grandmother ‘drowned in her own blood’

A MAN accused of repeatedly bashing a Townsville grandmother in the face with a piece of wood struck her so hard she drowned in her own blood, a court has heard.

James Ray Samuel Mabo is on trial for the murder of Deeragun grandmother Rosemary Russo in the early hours of December 8, 2016.

Mabo, who was 19 at the time of the offence, has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, which the crown does not accept.

In his opening statement, Crown Prosecutor Andrew Walklate told the jury Mabo forced through Ms Russo's laundry door, made his way into the lounge room where a physical confrontation ensued.

Mr Walklate said Mabo later told an undercover police officer he broke into the house with the intention to steal and that he armed himself with a piece of timber.

"There was a physical confrontation between them, during which Rosemary was knocked to the floor. Whilst she was on the floor, Rosemary was struck hard to her face multiple times by the defendant.

"The blows caved in part of her nose … and caused black eyes.

"Rosemary's blood splattered in all directions.

"Rosemary began to bleed profusely and the blood began to drain into her airway and into her lungs."

Rosemary Russo. Picture Bryan Lynch
Rosemary Russo. Picture Bryan Lynch

 

Murder victim Rosemary Russo.
Murder victim Rosemary Russo.

 

Mr Walklate said bloodied footprints were left in the house and a fingerprint on the house's bathroom handle.

He said neighbours later saw a figure running from the laundry door but did not see his face.

Neighbours described hearing a "gargling" sound, he said.

Mr Walklate told the court a Broncos rugby league singlet, which the defendant was seen wearing in CCTV at KFC, was found discarded and had traces of blood.

One neighbour, Justin Alexander Movigliatti, said he was playing cards with his wife on his patio when he heard three bangs.

After going to the fence line to check on Ms Russo's property he returned to his patio. He then heard a noise that "didn't sound good'.

"It just sounded like somebody struggling, badly … I knew something was wrong," he said.

He went to the house and the laundry door was open. He went in and saw "blood everywhere" and could barely recognise Ms Russo's face.

Mr Movigliatti said he saw a teenager with a yellow singlet, who appeared to be stumbling, flee the house and jump over fences to escape.

Under cross examination Defence Barrister Scott Geeves questioned the timing of what he heard and asked about his version of events.

The jury was show graphic photographs of Ms Russo's injuries.

Professor David Williams, who performed the autopsy, concluded she died from "repeated severe blows" that had caused blood to be inhaled into her airways, and she essentially "drowned in her own blood".

The court heard that in the lead up to Ms Russo's death Mabo was drinking heavily and had been fighting with a friend.

The trial continues.


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