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Man allegedly threw petrol, punched flatmate

Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Nov 2022, 9:31am
Photo / File
Photo / File

Man allegedly threw petrol, punched flatmate

Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Nov 2022, 9:31am

A man allegedly threw petrol over his flatmate then punched and stomped on her, a jury heard yesterday.

Gregory William Claxton, 60, denies two charges of assault with intent to injure, common assault and threatening to kill his flatmate on September 19 last year.

The jury trial began before Judge Russell Walker in the Invercargill District Court yesterday.

In his opening, Crown lawyer Mike Brownlie said while Claxton and Karleene May Fraser had been in a relationship, the offending took place after they had broken up but were still living together at Claxton’s Nelson St home in Invercargill.

Claxton had returned from his son’s house about 6.15pm and had a conversation with Fraser as she lay on the couch.

After making a cup of coffee for himself, he returned to sit on the couch and it was then Fraser told him she wanted to sleep.

This enraged him, Brownlie said.

“He nutted off. He was angry. He was swearing at her.”

Claxton then threatened to burn the house down.

He left the lounge, returning with a petrol container, and poured the petrol over Fraser as she lay on the couch, Brownlie said.

“The Crown say the complainant [Fraser] started screaming and tried to get off the couch. The defendant’s response was to push her back on the couch and begin punching her.”

When Fraser tried to break free, Claxton pushed her on to the couch and started stomping on her.

Admitted statements of fact were read out by Brownlie in court yesterday.

The first one was from a neighbour who said he heard screaming coming from a neighbouring property.

At first he thought it was children, but after he heard the words “help me” he went outside to investigate.

He got Fraser to come back to his house and called the police.

Another statement was from a Southland Hospital doctor, who said Fraser smelt of petrol when she came in to be examined.

The petrol was removed by way of a decontamination shower and the examination showed no signs of swelling, bruising or grazes to Fraser’s body or face.

Claxton’s lawyer Richard Little said there was an argument on the night which led to Claxton asking Fraser to leave. However, his client denied there was a threat to kill.

“It was simply a straightforward demand to get out.”

He said the spilling of petrol on Fraser was accidental.

“It’s denied there was any punching or stomping at all,” Little said.

This was backed up by the doctor’s statement of fact about her lack of injuries, he said.

The trial continues today.

- Karen Pasco, ODT

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