Assault charge for fatal driver

THE driver behind the wheel of a car that crashed and killed a 20-year-old Byron Bay man fronted court yesterday, charged with an assault committed only months after the fatal accident.

Shane Millwood, 27, sat solemnly with his eyes on Magistrate R Denes in the Lismore Local Court yesterday as he heard the charges brought against him.

The Byron Bay father of one pleaded guilty to entering Neil Wright's Suffolk Park home in the early hours of November 25 with the intent to commit a serious indictable offence and to assaulting Mr Wright, causing him actual bodily harm. In a police interview, Millwood said the victim, a former friend, acc-used him of “dobbing” him in to police for an unrelated matter.

The victim sent Millwood a text message on November 25 telling him, in more explicit words, their friendship was over.

Millwood drove to the victim's home at 2.40am after his phone calls wentunanswered.

He pushed past the front door, opened by a friend inside the house, and into a bedroom where Mr Wright was asleep with his girlfriend.

The victim refused to talk to Millwood, who then lunged at the victim and punched him in the mouth.

A friend of the victim who was in the house dragged Millwood outside, where he got into a waiting car and drove home.

Photographs tendered to the court showed a significant amount of blood splattered over the victim's bed and bedroom floor.

The victim suffered cuts and a swollen lip in the attack.

Millwood told police he and the victim had since resolved their differences, but this was disputed by the victim.

Defence lawyer Darryl Quigley confirmed to the court that alcohol was a factor in the incident.

Magistrate Denes adjourned the matter until July 19 and ordered bail continue.

The prosecution said Millwood was on bail for a series of dangerous driving offences when he committed the assault. Last month, Millwood pleaded guilty to dangerously driving a car that crashed on Bangalow Rd, Byron Bay, last year, killing passenger Ben Donohoe.

The prosecutor pointed out the driving charges were “obviously very serious” and Millwood would enter a plea for the offences in the Lismore District Court today.

A custodial sentence was inevitable for the driving matters, the prosecutor said.

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