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March 17, 2010 3:32pm
WOMAN “freaked out” before reversing back over a man and dragging him under, court told.
SARAH May Ward told a psychiatrist she “freaked out” when she realised she had run down a young man in the early hours of June 7, 2008.
She said she was badly shaken after being physically attacked by a group of young men minutes earlier, her NSW Supreme Court murder trial has been told.
When Ms Ward had come across 21-year-old Eli Westlake in another group, she had tried to reverse away quickly, but instead had driven straight into him, dragging him underneath the car, the psychiatrist said she told him.
Ms Ward, 39, of Pymble, has denied murdering Mr Westlake at St Leonards in Sydney’s north.
The Crown has alleged she used her car as a weapon, after becoming enraged when Mr Westlake jokingly threw cheese balls which landed on the car.
Crown witness Stephen Allnutt, a forensic psychiatrist, told the court that in his conversations with her, Ms Ward made no mention of the cheese balls.
She had said she and a male companion had been attacked as they stopped at a nearby 7-Eleven and she had been punched in the head.
Ms Ward had said she jumped in the driver’s seat as the pair made their escape down a laneway “thinking she wanted to get out of there”, and remembered not being able to see the gears properly, Dr Allnutt said.
She had said that a short time later she came across a group of men, but was not sure if they were the same men or not as she could not see the man who had hit her.
“(She said) they started abusing her when she pulled into the driveway – they started yelling and screaming at her,” Dr Allnutt told the court.
“She thought she was in reverse, she put her foot down and drove into the wall.”
It was only afterwards someone had told her there was someone trapped underneath the car.
“She freaked out (saying), ‘I didn’t know he was there’,” Dr Allnutt said.
“She tried to lift the car, but could not get it up.”
Dr Allnutt said Ms Ward had used cannabis since she was 13, had a history of heroin abuse and regularly took other illegal and prescribed drugs.
He also gave evidence that she had been on antidepressants since her 20s and was on bipolar medication, but said there was no evidence that she was suffering from mania at the time of the incident.
The trial before Justice Roderick Howie is continuing.