David McCauley pleads guilty to setting fire to Wade Still in attack south of Newcastle


September 11, 2019 16:12:43

A man has admitted burning another man alive after dousing him with petrol on a deserted road south of Newcastle last year.

David John McCauley, 36, was measured and calm in Newcastle Local Court today when he pleaded guilty to murdering Wade Still, 23.

The court had been told Mr Still was found by a taxi driver severely burnt at Whitebridge in the early hours of August 20, 2018.

Police facts tendered in court said McCauley was involved in a violent feud with Mr Still in the lead-up to the death.

It was alleged Mr Still was doused in petrol before being set alight.

The police facts also said that as Mr Still took his final breaths, he made a dying declaration to the taxi driver and said: “David McCauley did it.”

He also allegedly repeated that declaration to fire and rescue crews.

The Australian Law Reform Commission says there are strict rules surrounding hearsay evidence, but there are exceptions, such as dying declarations.

Such a declaration is a statement made by a person who is unavailable to testify in court because of their death and who made the statement under a belief of certain or impending death.

Police argued that was the situation in which Mr Still found himself.

A co-accused, Troy McCosker, 50, denies any wrongdoing and is awaiting trial for a related charge.






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