Man says he found God after manslaughter of his mate

A MAN who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a friend yesterday stood in the dock in the Supreme Court in Bundaberg and apologised to his victim's family.

Ronald Peter McCusker, 51, had been charged with the murder of John Douglas Dive, 63, at the time of his death on January 1, 2012.

The court was told the two men had been friends for about 20 years.

The men were drinking at a property on Mt Perry Rd, Moolnoolam, about 15 minutes drive west of Gin Gin.

At the time of his death Mr Dive had a blood alcohol content of 0.319.

In a schedule of agreed facts handed to Judge Roslyn Atkinson, the court was told both men were heavily intoxicated.

At least once McCusker pushed or punched Mr Dive in the head and he fell, hitting his head on the floor or a table.

Mr Dive at one point tried to dance and fell, hitting his head on a window and perhaps the table.

McCusker tried to get Mr Dive to go to sleep in his car, but he returned to the house and said he wanted to drink some more.

Mr Dive went back to his car, followed by McCusker.

McCusker tried to stop Mr Dive opening his car door, and he fell over.

McCusker grabbed him by the neck and made a fist, but before he could punch him Mr Dive became a dead weight in his hand.

Efforts to revive him by ambulance staff called to the property were unsuccessful.

Medical evidence to the court was that Mr Dive died because of the compression of his neck.

In an emotional statement to the court, McCusker said God knew what had happened and he threw himself on the mercy of the court.

He said he had found Jesus and the Bible and it had changed his whole life.

He said he was sorry to Mr Dive's family for his death.

"I'm very sorry it all came about," he said.

Judge Atkinson said it was a terrible set of events that had ended in the death of one man.

She accepted McCusker had no intention to kill or seriously injure Mr Dive.

She sentenced him to six years and three months jail, and set his parole eligibility date at April 22, 2017.

Topics:  bundaberg supreme court

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