Man's fatal fall from car bonnet described

Last updated 05:00 25/07/2012

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A witness testifying about the death of a Hamilton man has recalled watching as he rolled slowly off the bonnet of a car, "pancake landing" on the ground.

Barry Webber was one of many witnesses to give evidence in day two of the trial in the High Court at Hamilton into the death of Warren Deane, 41, on October 6, last year.

William Ashton Thompson, 62, denies a charge of manslaughter along with an alternative charge of dangerous driving causing death.

Mr Deane, who lived and worked at the Brookfield Accommodation Centre in Dey St, died from head injuries after a dispute with Thompson, who allegedly had dumped rubbish at a park opposite the centre.

The Crown alleges Thompson started his car and drove it toward Mr Deane, who ended up on his bonnet.

Mr Webber said he had just picked up takeaways and was filling his car at the Challenge petrol station when he heard yelling.

He looked up to see Thompson's car, travelling about 35kmh, rounding into Naylor St from Dey St with Mr Deane on the bonnet.

Then, near the petrol station, he heard Mr Deane say he was going to get off and Mr Webber watched as Mr Deane "rolled" off the car and landed face down on the road.

Mr Webber said Thompson appeared to speed up slightly as he turned into Naylor St and believed he sped up further after Mr Deane had fallen from the bonnet.

Virginia Reid had just pulled into her sister's house opposite the petrol station when she saw Mr Deane.

"He started to bleed out of his ears and mouth. He also had a big lump that appeared on the left side of his head." She called 111 as others gathered.

Steven Carroll was outside the Scout Hall in Dey St when he caught a glimpse of Thompson's car.

He noticed Mr Deane lying on his back, with his upper body covering the driver's windscreen and legs sprawled out over the bonnet, with a cellphone in his right hand.

He clearly heard Mr Deane say "call the f...... police" from the bonnet.

He estimated Thompson was travelling between 35kmh and 40kmh when he drove past, and did not stop when turning left into Naylor St.

Defence counsel Charles Bean put to Mr Carroll that Thompson would testify he was travelling at only 25kmh. Mr Carroll said he would have been travelling "a bit faster" than that.

Witness Nicola Cowling said the driver was sitting very low in his seat and appeared to be looking straight through Mr Deane as if he wasn't there. Mr Deane looked "panicked", she said.

Antony Lockyer, a former volunteer firefighter, was one of the first to assess Mr Deane.

"The first thing I noticed was the blood coming out of his ears, blood from his nose . . . his eyes were wide open with them not blinking or anything at all. I remember shouting at him to try and get some form of response, but got no response at all."

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After trying to find a pulse Mr Lockyer said he then heard Mr Deane begin breathing through his nose.

The people who had gathered at the scene rolled Mr Deane into the recovery position which also helped stop the gurgling noise he was making.

St John Ambulance officer Simon Burrows attended the incident and said it was common that blood seeping from ears could mean a skull fracture.

Mr Deane was assessed as being in a critical condition and taken to Waikato Hospital.

Mr Burrows also checked Mr Deane's phone and noticed his latest calls were made to Hamilton central police station and 111.

The trial is expected to continue until Friday.

- Waikato Times

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