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Man’s explanation for dead bodies in unit

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A man accused of murdering two siblings has testified he had nothing to do with one death and acted in self-defence against the other person, but did not call police because he feared no one would believe him.

Luke David Fawcett, 28, is on trial in the West Australian Supreme Court charged with murdering his neighbour Maree Collins, 66, and her brother Wayne Johnson, 62, at Ms Collins’ Leonard St unit in Victoria Park over Easter last year.

Mr Fawcett testified on Tuesday, maintaining his composure as he detailed at length what he claimed happened that weekend.

He said he noticed his neighbour’s door was open, so he called out to her but heard no response, then he was knocked to the ground from behind.


“I was yanked to my feet. Somebody grabbed me … around the neck,” he told the jury.

As the grip around his neck tightened, Mr Fawcett said he blacked out and woke up in Ms Collins’ apartment in “a great deal of pain”.

His injuries were not too serious but he felt unsafe there, so he left as soon as he could.

“I thought about calling the police … (but) I didn’t know what I’d tell them,” he said.

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Camera IconMaree Collins, 66, was allegedly murdered in her home last year. Supplied by the family via the WA Police Force via NCA NewsWire Credit: Supplied

Concerned he would not be taken seriously by the police, Mr Fawcett said he calmed himself down then went about his plans for the day with the intention of checking on Ms Collins later.

When he knocked on her door, he got no answer so he went to bed and it was not until the next day that he heard a scream.

“My intuition was telling me to stay inside and not go out,” he said.

He eventually went out to the foyer to investigate, finding Ms Collins’ door slightly open and blood stains on the floor.

“I cautiously made my way into the apartment,” he said.

“I saw a tarp on the ground … I saw Maree wrapped up in it.

“She was lying face up … I assumed she was gone.”

Mr Fawcett said it appeared the victim had been “severely injured” and her face was swollen.

“Horror, I suppose, doesn’t quite explain the extent of it,” he said.

“I just looked at her for a few moments.”

Asked directly by his legal counsel whether he was responsible for Ms Collins’ death or her being in the tarp, Mr Fawcett said no.

Luke David Fawcett is on trial charged with two murders. Picture: LinkedIn
Camera IconLuke David Fawcett is on trial charged with two murders. LinkedIn Credit: Supplied

Mr Fawcett said he heard footsteps and readied himself for a fight by taking hold of his taser, thinking whoever it was must be the killer and they would not want any witnesses.

As soon as he saw the person was Mr Johnson, he said he dropped the taser and put his hands up to show he did not want to fight.

“He looked dazed. He had a very pained expression on his face,” Mr Fawcett said.

“We both looked at each other.

“Wayne and I knew each other … he’s not a threat, or at least I didn’t think he was a threat.”

But Mr Johnson allegedly picked up a knife and began shouting.

Mr Fawcett said he only specifically recalled him shouting: “Jesus!”

The pair began “grappling” and Mr Fawcett said he managed to grab hold of the knife, which he threw to the side.

Mr Johnson was bigger and managed to climb on top of Mr Fawcett, which was when Mr Fawcett said his shoulder was dislocated and his collarbone was fractured.

He said Mr Johnson grabbed a second knife and they grappled again.

During the struggle, Mr Fawcett said he tripped over Ms Collins’ body and may have stepped on the tarp too.

Mr Fawcett said he threw some items at Mr Johnson, who stabbed him in the knee.

Feeling fearful that Mr Johnson would kill him and still confused by the situation, Mr Fawcett said he eventually managed to again disarm Mr Johnson.

He then got on top of Mr Johnson, telling him he had “won” and he did not want to fight anymore, but he said Mr Johnson continued to scream.

As Mr Johnson tried to choke the accused, Mr Fawcett said he thought: “If he renders me unconscious here, I’m finished.”

Mr Fawcett said he began to swing the knife “wildly”, saying it all “happened very quickly”.

Wayne Johnson, 62, was allegedly murdered by Luke David Fawcett. Supplied by the family via the WA Police Force via NCA NewsWire
Camera IconWayne Johnson, 62, was allegedly murdered by Luke David Fawcett. Supplied by the family via the WA Police Force via NCA NewsWire Credit: Supplied

When their battle finally came to an end, Mr Fawcett said he did not check on Mr Johnson, who he left lying on his back.

Mr Fawcett went to the bathroom but then when he returned he saw the scene had been altered, including Mr Johnson’s position.

“I thought this situation is a disaster,” he said.

“I was worried I would be blamed for both these people’s deaths.”

Mr Fawcett said he had planned to bury the knife and taser, and even called his grandmother to ask for a shovel, before realising it was “foolish” and changed his mind.

Instead, he asked her to take him to a doctor.

“At the time, I was very scared,” he said.

Mr Fawcett conceded he should have alerted authorities.

He also admitted he had lied to medical professionals and his grandmother about how he sustained his injuries.

Mr Fawcett said notes found in his car listing “equipment” and “interrogation methods” was for a video game rather than a murder plot.

He said another listing of “high risk” locations was suburbs he considered more likely to experience a rental price increase due to the Covid-19 pandemic, rather than places to hide a body.

Ms Collins suffered 12 lacerations, including a cut to her throat, the court previously heard.

Her brother suffered 25 stab wounds, including to his head, chest and abdomen.

The trial continues.

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