Limp body dragged down Andergrove driveway after attack
NEIGHBOURS watched as Kyle Christopher Sheppard dragged a man's limp body down his Andergrove driveway after nearly bashing him to death in a brutal assault.
"You are a whisker away from a murder or manslaughter charge," Judge Julie Dick said after the catastrophic injuries were detailed in Mackay District Court.
Sheppard first met the 37-year-old victim and two others at The Gallery Lounge and Bar and invited them back to his place where they polished off a bottle of bourbon and some whiskey.
Festivities soured about 10am on April 20 last year when the pair began to argue and Sheppard asked the victim to leave his house, but he instead demanded a lift home or cab fare.
When Sheppard refused, the man spat on his guitar and then stood over him threateningly, which led to an explosion of violence.
Then 26, Sheppard snapped and began punching the man in his face, ribs and stomach. When he injured his hand, Sheppard used his elbows before he pushed the victim out the front door.
"Neighbours saw Mr Sheppard dragging the complainant's limp body along the driveway towards the road and saw him standing over the complainant and yell, you think you're hard now," Mitchell Whelan, for the Director of Public Prosecutors, said.
"Although multiple neighbours and passers-by saw the complainant lying on the path each assumed that an ambulance had been called."
It wasn't until a passing police car spotted the injured man not long after that he was taken to hospital. Sheppard, now 28, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm. He was also found with a rifle and ammunition, which was unrelated.
Defence barrister Scott McLennan said his client had been provoked into snapping after the victim had stood over him in his own home.
"My client is devastated to find himself in court today... he's never been in trouble with the law before," Mr McLennan said.
"He invited the complainant into his home and had been very hospitable towards him throughout the evening and the morning to have the complainant refuse to leave when he was politely asked, spit on his possessions then behave in a very threatening and irrational way."
Mr McLennan said it was reasonable for Sheppard to believe the victim's behaviour was about to escalate and to feel threatened and unsafe.
"And it was reasonable for him to launch what was effectively a pre-emptive strike in those circumstances," Mr McLennan said, adding all the blows were "delivered in a flurry" while the victim was upright.
Despite the provocation, Judge Dick said, she couldn't ignore the seriousness of the injuries, which included a shattered jaw, splinted sinus tract and bleeding on the brain.
The court heard he was initially placed in an induced coma and spent five days in intensive care before being moved to Townsville for surgery. He could have died without medical help.
"This was an extreme response to provocative conduct," Judge Dick said, adding she believed it was out of character.
"You just lost it."
Judge Dick reduced the penalty to two and a half years jail suspended after six months because of the provocation and Sheppard's co-operation and guilty plea.