Gory end to brawl over cash

FIFTEEN years of friendship did not stop two men from having a brutal brawl over money that ended with one allegedly stabbing the other in the neck, a court was told.

Allan Jason Coe yesterday faced Bundaberg District Court where he pleaded not guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm against his friend, Craig Holzberger, which dated back to December 2007.

Giving evidence, Mr Holzberger said the stabbing was the result of a violent argument caused by his belief that Mr Coe had taken his money and medication that day.

“He attacked me with a crowbar. He leapt off the lounge and was swinging it,” Mr Holzberger said, and explained he was later able to wrestle the metal bar away from Mr Coe.

“I was swinging (the crowbar) at him and then he pulled a knife out of his pocket.

“He was unfolding it and then thrashing it around.

“He had the knife and I was trying to protect myself (with the crowbar).”

Mr Holzberger said he tried to leave the quickly escalating scene and was “backing up towards out the door”, still swinging the crowbar, when he tripped over.

He said he was stabbed in the neck by Coe while on all fours trying to leave the house.

MR Holzberger said he was “scared for his life” when he left Mr Coe’s house because “I was walking home and blood was just squirting out (of his neck wound)”.

The court heard he reached home, fainted in the front yard, and remembered waking up in Royal Brisbane Hospital where he had been transported for delicate surgery. Mr Holzberger said the argument happened on the third of three visits to Mr Coe’s house that day.

He told the court he had wanted to confront the defendant about the missing $760 he thought Mr Coe might have.

On the first visit Mr Coe was not home, but on the second visit an admittedly “angry and agitated” Mr Holzberger said the questioning turned nasty.

“I’m slapping him around the head,” Mr Holzberger said.

“I was asking him, ‘where’s my effing money and that’.”

Although Mr Holzberger denied having a propensity for violence, defence counsel Simon Burgess said Mr Holzberger had a criminal and drug-fuelled past.

A particular incident in 1997 saw Mr Holzberger plead guilty to assault and police assault charges, the court was told.

Mr Holzberger put the incident down to drug-induced “bad behaviour at the time”, not a pattern of behaviour.

Mr Burgess also challenged Mr Holzberger’s credibility.

The trial will continue today.

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