SCREAMING in pain by the side of the road, a severely burnt Wade Still made a "dying declaration" that the man who "poured petrol" on him was David McCauley, detectives allege.
Mr Still, 23, who was found by a passing taxi driver by the side of Oakdale Road at Whitebridge in the early hours of August 20, repeatedly told a Fire and Rescue NSW officer "David McCauley did it".
David John McCauley, 35, has been charged with Mr Still's murder. The two men, both described by police as "low-level career criminals", lived in the same Belmont unit complex and had known each other for years, including periods where they had been "in conflict".
Mr McCauley was represented by solicitor Matthew Unwin in Toronto Local Court on Tuesday.
He did not appear or apply for bail, despite another solicitor foreshadowing last week that he would apply for release.
The matter was adjourned to Newcastle Local Court on November 15, the same date as co-accused Troy McCosker, 49. Details of the “dying declaration” were set out in a statement of police facts handed up to Magistrate Robert Stone during a bail application for Mr McCosker last week.
A taxi driver told police he was driving along Oakdale Road about 1am on August 20 when he saw a small fire in grass by the side of the road at the entrance to a quarry.
He did a u-turn and called triple-zero before hearing screaming and seeing Mr Still "sitting, huddled on the ground" near the fire. The taxi driver called triple-zero again to update them and asked Mr Still "are you hurt?". Mr Still replied: “I'm dying. I'm dying."
The taxi driver tried to help Mr Still speak to the triple-zero operator but he continued to scream "I'm dying", according to the police facts.
A Fire and Rescue NSW officer arrived a short time later and asked Mr Still his name and what happened.
"David McCauley poured petrol on me," Mr Still is alleged to have replied.
"Are you and Dave mates?" the firefighter asked. "We were," Mr Still replied, according to the police facts.
The firefighter asked if Mr Still if he and "Dave" were out lighting fires, to which Mr Still replied "no".
Mr Still then continued to repeat his accused murderer's name and said "David McCauley did it", according to police facts.
Police claim that due to the fact Mr Still believed he was about to die from his injuries, that these statements to witnesses can be classified as a "dying declaration", one of the exceptions to the ban of hearsay evidence being used in criminal proceedings.
About 40 to 50 minutes before the taxi driver stopped to assist Mr Still, police say a car containing four people drove past the quarry and saw a man run out waving his arms in an attempt to get them to stop. The man was "covered in mud, with clothes hanging off him". Police allege the man was Mr Still.
In a police interview after his arrest on Tuesday, Mr McCauley denied any involvement in Mr Still's murder.
He told detectives he picked up Mr Still on his motorbike at Jewells between 11.30pm and 11.45pm on the night of his death.
He said Mr Still was carrying a five litre jerry can full of fuel for Mr McCauley's motorbike.
He said they pulled over near the quarry on Oakdale Road because Mr Still was cold and then Mr Still said he was going to wait in that area for a friend.
Mr McCauley said he left Mr Still there and drove to a house at Dudley and then was picked up by Mr McCosker. He said Mr McCosker's car broke down at Redhead and he was picked up by a woman and driven to his home at Belmont.
Mr McCosker, represented by barrister Terry Healey and solicitor Cameron Duncan, was unsuccessful in his bid for bail on Thursday, with Mr Stone saying the police facts indicated he was “there when the final act of throwing petrol onto the injured Mr Still occurred”.
“A murder charge is always serious. The facts in this matter are horrendous,” Mr Stone said last week.
“An effort had been made, but it required further petrol to finish the job off.”
Mr Healey had submitted that Mr McCosker was no more than a “taxi driver” for Mr McCauley and did not even know Mr Still was at the scene.
He called the prosecution case against Mr McCosker “speculative” and “very, very poor”. The court had heard Mr McCosker and Mr Still were in an "ongoing and violent feud" in the lead-up to his death.
Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000
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