‘I thought it was just a ball, I didn’t know’
A man charged over the fatal hit-run off toddler Zayne Colson has taken the stand in his defence, telling a District Court jury he swerved to miss another child and thought he had hit a ball.
Michael Craig Bullock, 54, has pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated driving without due care and leaving the scene of an accident over two-year-old Zayne's death about 8pm on Sunday, March 12, 2017.
"A child, a little girl, ran out from behind the tree, I was about 2m from her," he said.
"I swerved to miss her. I heard a noise at the bottom of my car … and then I felt something go under my rear wheels.
"I just thought it was a ball, I didn't know, I thought that's what she came running out for."
His voice shaking, Bullock also told the court it was not until he briefly stopped to check that he realised he had hit another child.
"I panicked, I didn't know what to do so I went home to phone the police or someone to get him help," he said.
He told the jury his wife called triple-0 after he arrived home and he was "too scared" to return to the scene "because there was a lot of noise, commotion and I don't really know".
He also did not present to a police at a roadblock set up near his house.
"There was lots of thinking going through my head," he said.
Previously, when opening the trial, prosecutor Rachael Gray told the jury Zayne was outside playing with two of his sisters, then aged 5 and 7, when the crash occurred.
She said the toddler had been flung onto the car's bonnet before being "dragged underneath the car for a few metres down the road".
She said only Zayne's two sisters were outside the house at the time and there "was nothing remarkable about this residential street that made it unsafe to stop".
"The prosecution case is that when the accused drove away, leaving Zayne Colson lying fatally injured in the middle of the road, the only people nearby were his two young sisters."
On Friday, Bullock told the jury he believed he was driving about 35km/h at the time and had seen one child in the front yard of Zayne's home and only swerved when another child ran out from behind the tree. He said he did not see Zayne at all.
He said he had previously seen children playing on the footpath, their unfenced front yard and on the street, but had not expected them to be outside at 8pm.
Bullock also told the jury he was accompanied by his 18-month-old German Shepherd dog but denied he was distracted by the dog.
He also denied not being able to brake heavily because the dog was unrestrained in the back of the car.
The jury heard Bullock had sought psychological help after a group of men attempted to break into his home about seven months earlier because he was "terrified".
His wife, Donna Bullock, also gave evidence, telling the jury her husband appeared "white as a ghost" when he walked in the front door after the crash.
"He said he killed a kid," she told the jury.
"He said straight after that to phone triple-0, which I did."
The trial, before Judge Paul Cuthbertson and a jury of 11 people, continues.