Campsite horror: 'What have you done? You've killed her'
AN INSKIP Point camping trip during the Easter School Holidays turned to horror when Michael Kenneth Fox thought a nearby camper had killed his own partner.
Today in Maroochydore Magistrates Court, Fox, 31, pleaded guilty to assaulting the man, who had been camping with his family just steps from where Fox had been living in a camper trailer.
Police prosecutor Leonie Scott said Fox, from Coolum Beach, had introduced himself to the victim and his partner, who were sitting at their camp site having a few drinks with friends about 10pm on April 8.
He sat down and joined the conversation, and there was no animosity early on.
"After midnight the victim got up to attend to tidying up his camp before going to bed; the defendant remained drinking with the victim's partner and another female at the camp," Sergeant Scott said.
He got up about 2am, and told Fox and the two women, who were still gathered at the camp site, it was time to go to bed, and time for Fox to go back to his own camp.
"The victim made a remark to the defendant (Fox) to the effect that the only reason he was there was because he was wanting to sleep with one of the remaining two women," Sgt Scott said.
"The victim's partner took objection to his comment. The victim and his partner then went and walked off toward the beach to continue their discussion."
But the woman told her partner she wanted to be left alone, so he walked back towards the camp site, where Fox confronted him.
"As the victim neared his camp site the defendant became aggressive, saying 'what have you done with her? You've killed her," Sgt Scott said.
"The defendant appeared to be of the mistaken and irrational belief that the victim had killed his wife."
Fox punched the man in the face and when he fell to the ground Fox set upon him punching and elbowing him in the face about 20 times, as the victim tired to shield his face with his arms.
Solicitor Mark Dixon said Fox accepted his attack was "an appalling act".
"My client accepts that it was completely irrational (to think the victim had killed his wife) but that was what was thought at the time," Mr Dixon said.
He said Fox had no criminal history, and after a neck injury prevented him from continuing to work as an electrician he had to sell his home and suffered with an alcohol problem.
"This (attack) has been a shock to him," Mr Dixon said.
"This is not the man he is, this is not how he conducts himself."
He said Fox has been attending counselling since the incident and has stopped drinking.
"He's had one night and he's made a horrible, horrible mistake that he's genuinely remorseful for," Mr Dixon said.
Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist ordered Fox to complete 200 hours of community service and serve a two-year probation order.