Noa Ronnie Etheridge was found guilty of attempted  Koongal resident Kerry Gittins on January 9, 2018, in her home. The assault took place after he had attempted to break into cars and units at this block of units on the same property at 352 Lakes Creek Rd, Koongal.
Noa Ronnie Etheridge was found guilty of attempted Koongal resident Kerry Gittins on January 9, 2018, in her home. The assault took place after he had attempted to break into cars and units at this block of units on the same property at 352 Lakes Creek Rd, Koongal. Jann Houley

Koongal hammer victim "I was paralysed... I couldn't run.'

UPDATE 5.10PM: A MAN who used a hammer to strike his victim in both temples causing wounds that injured the 56-year-old Koongal woman's brain matter has been found guilty by a jury of attempted murder.

Noa Ronnie Etheridge pleaded not guilty last week in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton to one count of attempted murder.

He also entered pleas of guilty to two counts of attempting to enter premises, two of stealing, one of burglary, one of wilful damage and one of unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

A jury returned a verdict of guilty to attempted murder just before 3pm today. They had deliberated for four hours.

Etheridge will be sentenced on March 28.

Etheridge was 23 years old when he went on a crime spree on January 9, 2018 that included attacking 56-year-old Koongal resident Kerry Gittins in her home at about 6.30am after asking her for a bottle of water for his 'son who had hurt himself while they were fishing'.

He struck Ms Gittins in both temples with a hammer, with expert evidence heard during the trial outlining the extent of the force resulted in an injury that penetrated the brain matter.

Ms Gittins navigated an ATV from her house to a unit where her daughter lived down the driveway, to get help.

A horrifying photograph shown to the jury during the trial showed Ms Gittins covered in blood with open wounds to her temples as she sat in the ATV being treated by Queensland Ambulance paramedics.

Etheridge had stolen the black handled silver claw hammer from a garage of nearby units where Ms Gittins' daughter, Lydia Withers, and her fiance Jeff Tomlinson resided.

"It was immense pain," Ms Gittins told the jury.

"I can't remember a lot. I remember it was my head ... I was paralysed. I couldn't run. I couldn't scream. I couldn't do anything."

The next memory she has is of being in an ambulance.

"I woke up to Jeff screaming at me," Ms Withers told the court as she broke out crying.

"I called triple zero straight away, before I walked outside... walked downstairs.. to mum... covered in blood.

"The first thing I noticed was a large golf ball shape injury to her right temple... with a cut... gushing blood."

Ms Withers said Mr Tomlinson pointed out another head injury to the left temple which was about 20cm.

"You could see her skull," she said.

The court heard paramedics estimated Ms Gittins had 500ml of her own blood on her.

Ms Gittins was flown to Brisbane after the incident for medical treatment.

Dr Jed Robusto was one of the medical team who treated Ms Gittins at Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital told the court if Ms Gittins had not received medical treatment for her temple injuries, "she would have developed an infection. She would have developed meningitis and potentially an abscess or infected collection in her brain".

He said the consequence of those was "death or severe morbidity".

Etheridge had left muddy fingerprints and clothing throughout the block of units on the property, including muddy clothing left in the laundry.

He stole a Nissan Navara and Ms Gittins wallet from the property before fleeing, smashing through steel gates that kept horses in the property, and drove along the Capricorn Highway committing more crimes before being intercepted by police.

Etheridge told the jury he had taken between eight and 12 Xanax tablets, four tabs of LSD and eight points of methamphetamines along with drinking two rum mix cans at his mother's house the night of January 8.

"I was trying to kill myself," he said.

 

3.30pm: A MAN who used a hammer to strike his victim in both temples causing wounds that injured the 56-year-old Koongal woman's brain matter has been found guilty by a jury of attempted murder.

Noa Ronnie Etheridge pleaded not guilty last week in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton to one count of attempted murder and one count of acts with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He has entered pleas of guilty to unlawful act of grievous bodily harm - which was not accepted by Crown prosecutors - and other charges of attempting to enter premises, stealing, enter dwelling with intent, wilful damage and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

A jury returned a verdict of guilty to attempted murder just before 3pm today after being sent out to deliberate about 4pm yesterday, retiring just after 5pm and resuming at 11am today.

Etheridge was 23 years old when he went on a crime spree on January 9, 2018 that included attacking 56-year-old Koongal resident Kerry Gittins in her home at about 6.30am after asking her for a bottle of water for his 'son who had hurt himself while they were fishing'.

He struck Ms Gittins in both temples with a hammer, with expert evidence heard during the trial outlining the extent of the force resulted in an injury that penetrated the brain matter.

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