COLIN ALAN JOSHUA FERGUSON was committed for trial by Mr Brertingham-Moore, PM, in the New Norfolk Police Court yesterday, on a charge that on April 21 he had unlawful carnal knowledge of a female at Lachlan.
Evidence was given that in a statement Ferguson had said he had absconded from Lachlan Park Hospital. The defendant was represented by Mr J. P. Clark. Insp T. A. Canning prosecuted.
The woman said she was aged 25 years and lived with her husband at Lachlan. She left home at 10 am to visit her sister, who lived a mile away. She heard footsteps behind her, and saw the man was following. She turned off the main road to cross a bridge on a bush- track to her sister’s, saw the man following, and started to run. The man caught up to her; she was too exhausted to run further. He caught hold of her coat, and she fell down. He grabbed her by the throat, and tried to strangle her. Witness, continuing, said the man took one hand away from her throat, started hitting her with his fist. Then he indecently assaulted her.
Ferguson was the man who assaulted her.
Remark To Sister She said to her sister, “There is a man along the track. I don’t know whether he is a ‘patient,’ but he nearly killed me.” Later she was examined by Dr Rowe. Witness said she was 6 1/2 months pregnant at the time.
Dr Cecil Hartley Rowe said the woman was suffering from bruises and abrasions on the right cheek and face, and a severe black eye. There was also bruising over the left side of the neck and bruising and abrasions about the legs.
Evidence as to stains on clothing was given by Dr James Henry Brett Walch, pathologist, of Hobart. Dryden Hammersley Thomas, storekeeper and JP, New Norfolk, said Ferguson made a statement to him at New Norfolk police office.
Mr Clark’s objection to the statement being received was overruled.
According to the statement, which was read, Ferguson said he absconded from “A” Ward at Lachlan Park Hospital on the night of April 20. Next morning he followed the woman into the bush. When she began to run he ran after her, took her by the throat and knocked her down. The statement alleged the woman was a consenting party, and afterwards she said she would say nothing about it According to the statement, Ferguson said that afterwards he went to Lachlan Post Office, and was taken to the hospital in a motorcar between two men, one of whom had a gun.
Tpr Beamish said he saw the woman in a bedroom at the sister’s residence. She was very shocked. Her nose was bleeding slightly, and her left eye swollen and bruised. There were bruise marks on her throat.
On the way to the doctor the woman pointed to a spot on the side of the track leading to the house. There were footmarks and freshly disturbed earth. Insp Canning said defendant was arrested at the gate of Lachlan Park Hospital. No application was made for bail.