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Jury told accused admitted to being in a fight at Gatton pub

AN acquaintance of the man accused of murdering Laurence Shane Black at a Gatton pub has told a jury he admitted being in a fight shortly after fleeing the venue.

Christopher James Earl, 29, has pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to murdering Mr Black, 46, at the Imperial Hotel on October 28, 2011.

Maria Greatrex told the court on Friday, via telephone link she was only in Gatton that weekend after flying up from her home in Adelaide to meet up with on of Earl's friends who she met three weeks earlier.

Ms Greatrex said she met Earl for the first time that day, but remembered a conversation he had with his friend Neil Hill on the way back to the Helidon Spa Resort after they left the pub.

"I could not hear exactly what they were talking about because they were whispering," she said.

"He (Earl) was very upset and seemed stressed out.

"But, I knew they were talking about what happened earlier at the pub."

Ms Greatrex said shortly after the incident Earl came up to her in the pub and confessed to knowing how Mr Black came to be laying on the floor.

"He said he has just been in a fight with a guy at the bar," she said.

"From what I could tell he seemed upset about it."

Earlier, Mr Hill told the court he had known Earl for about five years after they met at the gym Earl used to own at Bribie Island.

He said he saw Mr Black several times throughout the course of the evening, but did not see how he was killed.

"I saw my friend (Earl) in the direction of the deceased man," he said.

"My focus was not on him at the time as I was chatting up a bird (Greatrex) who I should not have been chatting up.

"I did not see the fight or how the man came to be laying dead on the ground.

"As I was leaving the hotel I realised the man on the ground with his shirt off was the same man I saw at the bar several times before."

The trial before Justice Peter Applegarth continues.

Topics:  court crime gatton murder trial



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