‘Riotous’ behaviour

A witness in the murder trial of Traralgon man William Scriven has told the Latrobe Valley Supreme Court how he wished he had stayed home the night of his friend’s death.

“I seen one of my good mates get killed in front of me,” the witness said.

Scriven, 35, is accused of murdering 32 year-old Wayne Glenn Bayley about 12.50am on 22 December 2012 by stabbing him three times to the upper body in Scriven’s front yard in Thexton Street, Traralgon.

The court last week heard about an altercation in the street several hours earlier, involving the accused, his partner Kerry Compden and the pair’s neighbours from two doors away, Donna Kavanagh, Michael Hill and their then-15 year-old son.

Throughout the trial, the defence has questioned those involved in the earlier fight, and other witnesses, as to whether there was a “plan” to confront Scriven – or the woman who gave him a lift home – upon his return from police custody later that night.

They have denied this.

One witness told the court on Thursday, eight to 10 people had approached Scriven’s property in the early hours of 22 December.

These included Mr Hill, Ms Kavanagh and their son.

Another witness, Cheryl Schmidt, the next-door neighbour of the accused, told the court she had been woken up by “riotous sort of behaviour” in Thexton Street.

Ms Schmidt said she looked out her window to see “a lot of people around” and heard “a lot of noise”.

The court heard Ms Schmidt had witnessed the earlier incident.

She said she was in her front room about 7pm when she heard “a bit of a ruckus” in the street and looked out her window to see the two women having “a real cat fight” and the men swinging punches at each other.

The court heard on Thursday varying witness accounts of the details of the fight.

According to Ms Schmidt, Ms Compden and Scriven went home, Ms Compden returning to the street with two knives and Scriven with one, which Ms Schmidt described as a

large carving knife.

She said Scriven rushed into the street, and ran around swinging the knife before police arrived.

Two witnesses told the court on Thursday they did not recall seeing any weapons, while another two witnesses said they saw only one knife, which Ms Compden had retrieved and handed to Scriven.

“He got kicked in the head. Of course he’s wanting to defend himself,” neighbour Leanne Rowley told the court.

When giving evidence on Tuesday, Mr Hill admitted to having armed himself with a baseball bat at the time Scriven was allegedly armed.

In relation to the 12.50am incident which ended in Mr Bayley’s death, the court has so far heard varying descriptions of what occurred in the accused’s front yard and driveway.

However, witnesses have said a fight broke out between the accused and Mr Bayley.

They have told the court the stabbing of Mr Bayley occurred during the fight, with most accounts placing Mr Bayley on top of the accused who was on the ground.

The court has heard, at that point, none of the bystanders attempted to break up the fight.

Mr Bayley’s sister Kylie Stone told the court on Thursday, she saw Scriven on his back and her brother punching him to the face.

She said her brother then “thrust up” and she assumed Scriven was punching him back.

She said she did not intervene because she is a woman.

Ms Stone told the court while Ms Kavanagh and Mr Hill were at her place for drinks earlier that night, they had expressed no animosity towards Scriven and his partner about the earlier fight, and the incident had not been a topic of conversation.

The court heard Mr Bayley and his partner were also at Ms Stone’s, along with another Thexton Street resident Jenny Canty.

Ms Stone said they went to Thexton Street about 12.30am to drink at Ms Canty’s.

The trial continues before Justice Kevin Bell.