Morwell mattock murder hearing underway

A 20 year-old Morwell woman accused of murdering a 23 year-old Mowell man with a mattock has faced Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court for a four-day committal hearing this week.

Bonnie Sawyer-Thompson is accused of murdering Jack Nankervis on 20 June 2014 at her Tarwin Street residence.

On Tuesday the court heard from Dr Joanna Glengarry, who conducted the autopsy, that Mr Nankervis sustained numerous wounds from at least 11 blows by a mattock and sustained stab wounds from a knife.

Sawyer-Thompson’s lawyers are arguing she was told to kill Mr Nankervis with a mattock and a knife by her then-boyfriend Philip Mifsud, who is currently detained at Port Phillip Prison for an unrelated matter.

During the hearing the defence has questioned Sawyer- Thompson’s mother Kym Sawyer and Mr Mifsud.

Defence lawyer Rebecca Sleeth asked Ms Sawyer whether her daughter had problems with learning.

“She does, she’s a bit slow with some things,” Ms Sawyer said.

“She doesn’t really know how to tell the time and she doesn’t comprehend things.”

Ms Sawyer agreed with Ms Sleeth that the accused suffered from mental health issues and could be described as vulnerable, easily led, gullible and immature.

When asked of Sawyer-Thompson’s relationship with Mr Mifsud, Ms Sawyer said they were in a sexual relationship and he physically and mentally abused her daughter.

Ms Sawyer agreed when Ms Sleeth asked if she knew that Mr Mifsud had defecated on her daughter, burnt her with cigarettes, held a gun to her head and experimented on her with drugs.

Mr Mifsud was called to the witness stand on Wednesday and under oath stated he did not remember any of his life until two months ago, including the incident.

The court heard he had told the doctor of his memory problem and had requested a CAT scan.

Upon Ms Sleeth questioning Mr Mifsud, he repeatedly denied remembering anything about Sawyer-Thompson or being in a relationship with her.

Among the questions, Ms Sleeth asked if Mr Mifsud remembered telling Sawyer-Thompson he wanted to kill Mr Nankervis.

“Do you remember that you had told Bonnie prior to going to (a Denise Street residence) that you had bought the gun off Jack and he had held it to your head and that you’d get him for that?,” Ms Sleeth said.

“No,” Mr Mifsud said.

Ms Sleeth asked Mr Mifsud what he remembered about his life before prison, with him replying he did not remember he had children.

However, when Ms Sleeth later asked who had visited him in prison in the past three months, he said “my ex-girlfriend, my mother, my father and my kids”.

When Ms Sleeth reminded him of his earlier comment that he did not have children he replied “obviously I just haven’t been answering you because it’s s**t”.

The case is continuing at Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court.