The scene of the stabbing of two men at Hill St, North Ipswich.
The scene of the stabbing of two men at Hill St, North Ipswich. Sarah Harvey

Row led to deaths, court hears

AN argument over a $50 loan for a night out led to the stabbing deaths of two men in North Ipswich, a court heard yesterday.

The committal hearing for Luke Michael Jackson, 18, and Zachary Michael Maloney, 22, took place at the Ipswich Magistrates Court.

They are each charged with the murders of Brad Girling, 22, of North Ipswich and Brandon Matthews, 18, of Gladstone, in the early hours of January 8.

The court room was packed with the family of the victims and accused, as witnesses were called to explain what happened on Hill St that night.

Much of the hearing centred on Maree Gascoigne, the only eye- witness to the alleged stabbings.

She described the wounds to both victims - but defence lawyers questioned her integrity after giving four different versions of events to the police.

Ms Gascoigne told the court she arrived at the Hill St address about 8pm, where she joined Mr Girling and Mr Matthews, along with six other people gathered at the house.

Among them were David Barker, 25, and his partner Marika Miller, 23, Geoff Beard, 48, who was helping his son and resident at Hill St Andrew Beard, 25, move out of the home.

All four gave evidence yesterday.

Ms Gascoigne received a phone call from the accused Jackson, asking for a loan of $50 so he and Maloney could have a night out.

The court heard Ms Gascoigne was not in a relationship with Maloney, but was happy to lend the money.

As she spoke, Mr Girling snatched the phone from her and became abusive towards Jackson, threatening to hurt the pair if they came to Hill St.

Despite the altercation, she agreed to meet Jackson and Maloney at the intersection of Hill and Pull Sts, away from the home.

At around 11pm, Ms Gascoigne told her friends she was leaving the house to buy some hot chips, setting out to meet Jackson and Mahoney.

After she left, Ms Miller spotted Ms Gascoigne talking to two men across the road.

The development aroused suspicion with Mr Girling, Mr Matthews and Mr Barker who left the house to investigate who the men were.

The court then heard differing accounts of the exact circumstances which left Mr Girling and Mr Matthews suffering fatal stab wounds.

Ms Gascoigne recalled the trio calling out "Zach is that you?" as they began to run towards Jackson and Maloney, who were 20m down the street.

It was also alleged Mr Barker joined the pair running towards Jackson and Maloney.

A brawl erupted in the middle of Hill St when the two groups met, Ms Gascoigne said.

"They were not happy to see Luke and Zach," she said.

"I was concerned when I saw what was happening and I thought then to leave."

She recalled Maloney being knocked to the ground by a punch, the first physical exchange between the groups.

This was disputed in Ms Miller's evidence.

Ms Gascoigne saw what she thought were punches being thrown, but as she stepped in to try an end the fight, it was alleged she saw Maloney holding a blade.

"I was pushing Brad away, but as I was pushing, that was when I saw the blade and I was just terrified after that.

"Zach was holding a knife.

"I didn't see him using the knife I just saw the injuries on Brad, to his stomach."

After the incident, Ms Gascoigne spoke to Maloney at his home, where she had a shower to wash blood of the victims off her arm.

Mr Barker told the court he and Jackson were involved in a fight, leaving the two victims fighting Maloney.

He heard calls from where Mr Girling lay and said it was clear he was seriously injured.

The hearing has been adjourned until November 7.

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