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Thu 9 Jun, 2011
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The evidence will show that Higgins propositioned Johnstone in his drunken state

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Man faces Melbourne Court over killing of gay housemate after he made advances

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A Melbourne man who was angry at being propositioned by his gay housemate assaulted him with a platypus statue during a fatal fight, a court has heard.

Aaron James Johnstone, 29, "lost it" after his drunk and naked housemate Phillip Higgins propositioned him in September 2006.

Johnstone told police he assaulted Mr Higgins before dropping the platypus statue on him.

Johnstone has pleaded not guilty to murder and is facing trial in the Victorian Supreme Court.

In his opening address to the jury, prosecutor Mark Rochford SC said an office chair was also used in the alleged murder.

He said Johnstone carried out a sustained attack on 46-year-old Mr Higgins.

Mr Higgins, who was openly gay, was found lying dead on the floor of their Seaford home with a pair of underpants beside him.

There was blood beside his body and on the office chair, Mr Rochford said.

Also nearby was the 8kg platypus statue, he said.

Mr Higgins suffered numerous injuries including a fractured bone in the neck, and abrasions and lacerations to the head, Mr Rochford said.

A post-mortem showed he had a blood alcohol concentration of .32.

Mr Rochford said in Johnstone's record of interview he told police Mr Higgins had come out of the bedroom and said he would like to have oral sex with him.

At that point Johnstone told police he lost it, hitting and kicking Mr Higgins.

He said he then dropped the statue on Mr Higgins.
Johnstone intended to kill or cause really serious injury to Mr Higgins, Mr Rochford said.

Johnstone's barrister, John Desmond, said while he did not dispute his client's actions caused the death of Mr Higgins, he did not intend to kill him.

"The evidence will show that Higgins propositioned Johnstone in his drunken state," Mr Desmond said.

It was not the first time Johnstone had been propositioned by a drunken Mr Higgins, he said.

Mr Desmond urged the jury to look closely at the evidence about the platypus.

The trial before Justice Robert Osborn continues on Friday.

Source: AAP


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