Questions raised in disabled pensioner’s grisly murder case
The killer of a disabled pensioner, whose body was found bound with twine and gagged, has asked Queensland’s highest court to overturn his conviction.
Terrence Steven Arthur Barallon was given a life sentence for the brutal murder of Robert Duffy at his Mooroobool home on February 17, 2017.
The 62-year-old’s body was found days after his death with a stereo cord wrapped around his feet, his hands bound with an ironing cord and a belt pulled tightly around his neck.
Yellow twine had also been wrapped around his neck, legs and torso.
Mr Duffy had a fractured skull, neck compression, crushed ribs and a blocked airway – likely from tissue paper that was lodged in his throat.
Barallon – Mr Duffy’s live-in carer – admitted to manslaughter in Cairns Supreme Court, but was ultimately convicted of murder by a jury.
At the Queensland Court of Appeal on Thursday, Barallon’s defence team argued that his conviction should be downgraded to manslaughter.
Barrister Andrew Hoare, who took on Barallon’s case pro bono, argued that there was not enough evidence to suggest the killing was intentional.
He said Barallon claimed he had “flipped out” after Mr Duffy sexually assaulted him, sending Barallon into a “blind rage”.
“It must be submitted that it was unreasonable for the jury to find he wasn’t provoked,” Mr Hoare said.
The court was told that Mr Duffy had significant heart issues.
Mr Hoare suggested that some of Mr Duffy’s injuries, and the binding to his hands, could have been inflicted after his death.
But Crown prosecutor Philip McCarthy QC said treating the killing as a “thoughtless reactive attack” overlooked the degree of force used and number of injuries Mr Duffy suffered.
Mr McCarthy said the bruising on Mr Duffy’s wrists made it “highly unlikely” that he was dead when being tied up, because bruising required blood flow.
During the trial, the jury was also told that Mr Duffy had defensive wounds which suggested he was bound while still alive.
The Court of Appeal reserved its decision to a later date.
Originally published as Questions raised in disabled pensioner’s grisly murder case