Judge warns woman over jury stares

The woman who deliberately ran down caravan park owner Rita Addenbrooke had to be warned by a judge for attempting to intimidate the jury, before they found her guilty of manslaughter.

Katie Walkerley, 46, said nothing as six hours of deliberations ended with her being told she had committed manslaughter at the Kingsway Tourist and Caravan Park last February.

This week's Supreme Court trial was told that after visiting a friend for dinner, Walkerley had become enraged with another guest who had removed placemats that had been stuck to a table.

After furiously driving off the wrong way down the park's only road, a concerned Mrs Addenbrooke confronted Walkerley in her car, placing her hands on the bonnet in an attempt to get her to stop and turn around.

But Walkerley, with music blaring, instead began nudging her Toyota Corolla forward - even after seeing the caravan park owner was using the walking stick she needed for her multiple sclerosis.

As two more park residents pleaded with her to get out of the car, she kept on surging forward half a metre at a time - until Mrs Addenbrooke, 59, was lifted on to the bonnet and then propelled off.

She died from massive brain injuries after she fell and hit the road.

Walkerley had maintained her innocence, telling police in an interview Mrs Addenbrooke had appeared in the darkness like "the walking dead", and she had then become petrified as the two male park guests began shouting at her and banging on the car.

But her argument that Mrs Addenbrooke's death had been a tragic accident was rejected, and she will face a sentencing hearing in October.

The maximum term for manslaughter is life imprisonment.

Walkerley was also censured by the judge in court after standing in the dock to stare at the 12 jurors as they left to begin their deliberations.

She defied a guard's demands to resume her seat, and Justice Lindy Jenkins said her behaviour "may well intimidate the jury".

The West Australian

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