Wound raised doubts

RICHMOND Local Area Command former crime manager Detective Inspector Steve Clarke told a Lismore Supreme Court murder trial yesterday that after he saw the stab wound on the body of Cheryl Bolt he knew the Alstonville mother did not stab herself.

Her de facto, Paul Yuke, 33, of Alstonville, is pleading not guilty to the murder of Ms Bolt in her home at Deegan Street in the early hours of March 29, 2008, claiming instead her death was an accident.

Yuke has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the jury trial before Justice Graham Barr.

During Crown cross-examination, Det Insp Clarke said that when he spoke to Yuke in the back of a police van following his arrest, Yuke had no difficulty in understanding what the senior officer was saying, although he could smell alcohol on him.

“In my opinion he was mildly to moderately affected by intoxicating liquor,” Det Insp Clarke said.

Two teenage girls, including Ms Bolt’s daughter, were found by police asleep in another bedroom of the house when her mother’s body was found at 3.30am.

Yuke told police Ms Bolt had inflicted thefatal wound herself.

An initial police search of the house, which was in darkness without any light bulbs, and the yard, had not located a weapon.

Senior Constable Annette Brown said she was the custody officer at Lismore police station following Yuke’s arrest and when she commented on his bandaged arm, Yuke told her he had been ‘stabbed with a three-legged fork a couple of days ago’.

Sen Const Brown said she also saw a cut on Yuke’s track pants on both his right and left legs.

Former police officer Sen Const Monique Hannigan said Yuke had a bandage on his arm and the wound appeared to be weeping when she arrived at the house.

Ms Hannigan said Yuke made comments about Ms Bolt assaulting him.

Yuke said to her: “I put up with her abuse for 10 years.”

The trial continues today.

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