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Ben Batterham screamed abuse as paramedics tried to save burglar Ricky Slater’s life, court hears

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Chef who ‘beat an ice addict home intruder to death’ walked away screaming obscenities as paramedics tried in vain to save the burglar’s life

  • Court heard Ben Batterham yelled obscenities after attack ice addict burglar
  • Witness said apprentice chef was ‘extremely angry’ with burglar Ricky Slater
  • Paramedics worked to save Slater’s life after he was attacked by Batterham
  • Batterham caught Slater robbing his home and chased him out on the street
  • He has pleaded not guilty to murder over the fatal incident in March 2016

Benjamin Batterham is pictured leaving court on Monday

Benjamin Batterham is pictured leaving court on Monday

As paramedics injected a semi-conscious burglar with adrenaline in an attempt to save his life, his attacker walked away yelling obscenities, a court has heard.

Witness Darryl Sharpe told a Newcastle Supreme Court jury on Tuesday apprentice chef Benjamin Batterham had been ‘extremely angry’ with burglar Ricky Slater in early 2016.

‘He [Batterham] was still screaming obscenities [at Slater] as he went [home],’ Mr Sharpe said.

‘Batterham was screaming out ‘You motherf***er.”

Mr Sharpe said Batterham called out at one stage in an aggressive and frenzied voice, ‘give me two minutes with him. I’ll kill him.’

Paramedics managed to revive Slater after he suffered a cardiac arrest following the attack, but the 34-year-old had another two cardiac arrests before dying the following day.

Mr Sharpe told the jury Batterham was yelling ‘I’m going to kill you’ as he had Slater in a choke-hold and punched him repeatedly in the head near the driveway outside his Hamilton home.

Ricky Slater (pictured) who died after an incident in 2016 where he broke into Benjamin Batterham's home while on ice and was viciously attacked

Ricky Slater (pictured) who died after an incident in 2016 where he broke into Benjamin Batterham’s home while on ice and was viciously attacked

But when questioned by defence barrister Winston Terracini SC, Mr Sharpe could not explain why he failed to mention in two previous statements to police that Batterham had allegedly threatened to kill Slater.

The 35-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murdering Slater after chasing the burglar from his home.

He had been drinking with a friend, Paul O’Keefe, when he saw Slater in a bedroom about 3.20am on March 26 in 2016. Slater was carrying a blue shoulder bag containing three knives, cannabis and ice.

Batterham’s partner and seven-month-old daughter were not home at the time.

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Mr Sharpe, who lived up the road from Batterham, told the jury he heard a thud about 3.25am before seeing Slater lying face down on the ground and the chef on top of him with his left arm around his throat.

The neighbour said Batterham repeatedly punched Slater to the side of the head behind the ear while saying ‘I’ll kill you … You come into my house, my baby’s room.’

Mr Sharpe said Slater was calling out ‘I can’t breathe. Get off me.’

Benjamin Batterham (pictured) arriving at Newcastle Supreme Court on Monday. He is accused of murdering Ricky Slater, who broke into his home

Benjamin Batterham (pictured) arriving at Newcastle Supreme Court on Monday. He is accused of murdering Ricky Slater, who broke into his home

The Crown argues Batterham had a legal right to pursue Slater and restrain him until police arrived but no right to attack him the way he did and exact revenge.

Prosecutor Wayne Creasey SC said Slater was going to suffer more than normal when being restrained and assaulted because the 178-centimetre tall man was obese at 118 kilograms.

He was also high on ice at the time, had scarring to his heart because of regular drug use and suffered liver disease.

The defence insists Batterham was entitled to defend his home and family and chase the burglar.

Mr Terracini said Batterham never intended to kill Slater or cause him serious harm and the chef was not doing anything unlawful or dangerous given the circumstances of the case.

The trial, before Justice Desmond Fagan, continues.  

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