Accused left the state the day after murder, court told
As police investigated a body found in a Sydney park hours before, Stanley Early set off for Queensland from his home across the road.
Raymond Keam, 43, was found dead in Alison Park, a known gay beat, on January 13, 1987, across the road from the boarding house where 40-year-old Early was living in Sydney's east.
Now in his 70s, Early is on trial for murder after he allegedly bashed Mr Keam to death because he believed him to be homosexual.
In a transcript of a 1988 interview read out to the NSW Supreme Court jury, Early told police he left Sydney unannounced to visit his brother in Bundaberg on the same day Mr Keam's body was found.
Early said he made the 20-hour journey each year at that time, prosecution barrister Ken McKay SC read on Thursday.
In the interview, Early denied he decided to leave Sydney because of Mr Keam's death, maintaining he knew nothing about it until after he returned to his Randwick home five days later.
Early said he had heard screams coming from across the park the night before and noticed a lot of police walking around the park on the morning of the 13th but did not think any further of it as "it wasn't my business".
After a barbecue for his brother's birthday, the jury heard Early left his house without warning in the middle of the night as his brother slept.
"Why did you leave in the middle of the night?" the police officer said.
"I just felt like leaving," Early replied.
The case against Early is circumstantial and his barrister Jeffrey Clarke told jurors on Tuesday identification of the defendant will be an area of dispute.
"(The Crown) can't prove contact, no one saw them together," Mr Clarke said .
The trial continues on Friday.