The West

Tauri agitated after argument
Tauri 'agitated after argument'

UPDATE: A Mandurah man who died after being chased by a group of teenagers accused of his murder was "agitated" after an argument about whether he could drive because he had been drinking, his girlfriend told the Perth Children's Court this morning.

Giving evidence in the trial of six teenagers, Lisa Emes described her late partner Tauri Litchfield as being affected by alcohol and in a "good mood" on the afternoon before his death on March 17 last year.

The teenagers, who are aged 14 to 16 and have each pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, are accused of pursuing Mr Litchfield before he fell over a ledge and struck his head on bitumen.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury and died later that night in hospital.

Before the chase, one of the teenagers is accused of punching Mr Litchfied with enough force to knock him off his feet and kicking him as he lay in bushes.

Ms Emes told the court that she and Mr Litchfield had attended the Mandurah Crab Fest with a group of friends and played pool at the Brighton Hotel on the afternoon before his death.

She said she understood there had been an incident at the hotel with a couple of people who had tried to "take over the table" and it had "unsettled the group slightly".

Ms Emes said she and Mr Litchfield had a disagreement about whether he could drive home and she decided he had probably had too much to drink.

"Taurie just walked off," Ms Emes told the court. "He was a bit agitated."

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Beau Hanbury, Ms Emes agreed Mr Litchfield was a confident and assertive person, accepting he was an "adrenalin junkie" who loved outdoor sports and surfing.

Ms Emes said Mr Litchfield was an infrequent user of cannabis and had been a bit agitated because he was tired after the couple attended hospital the night before his death to visit a friend who had overdosed.

"He was probably a bit irritated, he was sleep deprived," she said.

Prosecution witness Rodney Brown told the court this morning that he was walking near the Mandurah foreshore when he came across a couple he believed were named Tauri and Rebecca.

Mr Brown said the couple inquired about where to purchase credit for a phone and the man mentioned catching a cab home.

He said he could smell alcohol on the breath of the man named Tauri, but he was not slurring his words.

"He was a very calm, happy young fellow," said Mr Brown, who described the woman he had encountered as intoxicated and unsteady on her feet.

Evidence was also given this morning by Peter Meadmore, a stranger who was out riding his bicycle and came across Mr Litchfield lying in the carpark where he fell.

Mr Meadmore said Mr Litchfield was lying in a "very awkward" and "unnatural" position.

He said he thought Mr Litchfield, whose breathing was shallow, was in serious trouble.

"As I bent down I heard a raspy intake of breath, almost like a weak, drawn-out gasp," Mr Meadmore told the court.

Ngaroma Graham told the court this afternoon that he had driven past the carpark where Mr Litchfield was found and thought it was "pretty strange" when he noticed a "dude" lying on the ground.

Mr Graham said he tried unsuccessfully to wake the man, who was struggling to breathe, by yelling at him.

He and another stranger then turned the man on to his side into a recovery position and he noticed a gash on the back of his head.

He told the court he called his girlfriend and she then rang an ambulance.

He placed a towel from his ute under the man’s head while waiting for the paramedics to arrive.

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Elizabeth Needham, Mr Graham said he had held the towel to Mr Litchfield’s head and applied pressure until the ambulance arrived.

Questioned by defence lawyer Simon Watters, Mr Graham agreed he was "freaking out" when he came across the scene and was so confronted that he could not think straight or remember that the emergency number was triple-0.

The trial continues.

The West Australian

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