Kieren Pye died in 2015. He was 23.
Kieren Pye died in 2015. He was 23.

Knives, cuts disputed details in Kieren Pye murder trial

IT WAS a late-night encounter that ended in Kieren Pye's death.

And jurors now must decide whether two men are guilty of murdering the 23-year-old at Ipswich's Carole Park in 2015.

Wayne Lemaga and Tupu Sauaga have been on trial for the past week after pleading not guilty to murder.

They were among a group who encountered Mr Pye, his girlfriend Renae Grove and his mate Peter Bell in the early hours of Thursday April 2 that year.

Nobody denied Mr Lemaga and Mr Sauga were at Carole Park that night. But they have denied murdering Mr Pye.

Arguments emerged over how Mr Sauaga sustained cuts to his left hand.

Mr Sauaga's barrister Chris Wilson said Mr Pye got a punch in, and his client wanted to protect himself.

It was also in dispute how many knives or bladed weapons - two or three - were used in the incident.

Apart from weighing up murder charges, jurors may find either man guilty of manslaughter or acquit them.

"The reality is, you only need to consider the case against Mr Sauaga on the basis that he was the principal who inflicted the fatal stab wound,” Justice Debra Mullins told jurors on Tuesday.

"He does not dispute that he is the defendant who inflicted the fatal stab wound.”

And it can now be reported Paul Benecke was the witness who admitted approaching the car Mr Bell, Mr Pye and Ms Grove were in and fighting with Mr Bell over the car keys.

"There was a planned robbery. There was no plan to kill anyone,” Mr Benecke told jurors.

He said Mr Sauaga ripped Mr Pye out the passenger side of the car and Mr Lemaga "had a knife raised”.

"I was begging them to stop.”

Justice Mullins told jurors to beware of any discrepancies or possible exaggerations in evidence.

For example, Mr Benecke said Mr Pye was killed after a machete was slammed down in his direction maybe 30-40 times in an alleged assault that may have lasted "8-12 minutes”.

But the court heard phone records showed less than six minutes separated a call from Mr Sauga's phone to Mr Bell's before the encounter and a 000 call Ms Grove made afterwards.

The jury has retired to consider the evidence. -NewsRegional



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