Hammer assault offender's 'head burning' when captured
A MAN who allegedly assaulted a Koongal woman by hitting her head with a hammer was crying in pain at police officers when he was apprehended, saying his head was on fire.
Noa Ronnie Etheridge is on trial in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton after pleading not guilty to attempted murder and not guilty to assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in relation to an assault on Koongal resident Kerry Gittins on January 9, 2018, in her home.
He pleaded guilty on Monday to an unlawful act of grievous bodily harm, along with other charges of attempting to enter premises, stealing, enter dwelling with intent, wilful damage and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
Etheridge was apprehended by Detective Sergeant Michael Froggatt of the Blackwater crime branch as he patrolled the Capricorn Highway and received reports of a service station theft by the driver of a white Nissan Navara with no number plates.
Det Sgt Froggatt told the jury he spotted the vehicle about 10.15am and followed it for about 300 metres before activating his lights and siren.
He said the Navara pulled over after 200 metres and when he approached it on foot, the driver was shirtless, agitated and sweating.
Det Sgt Froggatt said the driver - Etheridge - refused to give him his licence when asked and the attempted to head-butt him through the driver's door.
He said he avoided the head- butt and handcuffed Etheridge.
Body-worn video taken by another police officer who attended the scene to assist Det Sgt Froggatt was played to the jury.
The court could clearly hear Etheridge cry out in pain "my head's burning” multiple times.
Officers advised him to breathe slowly and to tell them if "he took anything last night”, but Etheridge did not respond.
Etheridge asked "what's going on” a few times.
He struggled to breathe and was dry retching.
When Queensland Ambulance Service officers arrived, they examined him and they gave him an injection before he was assisted out of the vehicle and onto a stretcher.
The court heard through Etheridge's barrister Andrew Hoare that told the court the injection contained an anti-psychotic sedative.
Etheridge was taken to Blackwater Hospital.
The hospital's senior medical officer Dr Christine Barry gave evidence yesterday about her examination of Etheridge on January 9 when he arrived at the hospital at 11.20am.
She said Etheridge told her his head was "burning all over” and he was hearing voices in his head that were not his own.
Dr Barry said he told her he could not recall what happened prior to his arrival at the hospital and denied using illicit drugs, however admitted he had used them in the past.
Under cross-examination by Mr Hoare, Dr Barry said she found mud in Etheridge's ears and on his scalp, along with having had multiple superficial abrasions to his legs.
The trial continues tomorrow.