Hamilton man guilty of manslaughter

Last updated 16:39 27/07/2012
ACCUSED: William Thompson
ACCUSED: William Thompson

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A jury in the High Court at Hamilton has this afternoon found William Thompson guilty of manslaughter.

Thompson denied a charge of manslaughter and an alternative charge of dangerous driving causing death of Warren Deane, 41, on October 6, last year.

The pair had a confrontation after Deane saw 63-year-old Thompson dumping a bag of rubbish opposite the Brookfield Accommodation complex on Dey St.

Deane climbed onto the bonnet of the car during the dispute, but fell off after the vehicle travelled 440m. He later died in hospital from head injuries.

During yesterday's cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Tini Clark, Thompson admitted he shouldn't have been driving with a person on his bonnet but said he did it purely for his own safety.

When asked whether he accepted Deane thought Thompson was going to kill him, Thompson replied: "No, I do not."

Deane was on the phone to police as he travelled on the bonnet of Thompson's car.

During that time, a 111 operator asked exactly where Deane was and he responded: "I'm being driven along about 40 miles an hour on top of a car."

Thompson denied he was driving that fast and said it was more between 20kmh and 25kmh.

Thompson denied he couldn't see as Deane lay on the windscreen and bonnet, stating he could see either side of Deane.

"So you knew you shouldn't be driving with a person on your bonnet but you did it anyway," Clark asked Thompson.

"For my safety, yes ... he was not sitting directly in front of me ... I could see where I was going."

The jury returned a verdict at about 4pm after a four hour deliberation. The trial began on Monday.

Thompson will be sentenced in September.

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- Waikato Times

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