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NSW man unfit to face murder trial

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016 Margaret Scheikowski

A 64-year-old man whose long term alcohol abuse has left him brain damaged is unfit to stand trial on a charge of murdering his de facto wife, a judge has ruled.

Gary Clifford Blackman is accused of murdering Nicole Weate, 53, between April 2 and 6, 2014, at the property where they lived at Tomewin, near Murwillumbah in northern NSW.

He also faces alternative charges of manslaughter and causing her grievous bodily harm.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday, Justice Monika Schmit referred to reports from two psychiatrists and two psychologists who concluded Blackman was unfit to stand trial.

She found he has suffered brain damage and also suffers from various mental disorders, as the result at least, in part, of his long term alcohol abuse.

Ms Weate's body was found in Blackman's shed, after a friend who also lived there went to police.

Blackman was then in hospital, where he had been taken by ambulance after a neighbour found him lying on the floor of the shed.

He was "naked, dirty and emaciated, in pain and with swelling to one of his legs, which he thought was the result of a spider bite, as well as cuts to his hands and knees", the judge said.

Blackman made various admissions about the killing to police, family members and hospital staff.

"Later, however, he denied responsibility for her death, identifying her killer to be the friend who had gone to police, after his admission to hospital," the judge said.

One psychologist noted there was ample evidence raising doubts as to the reliability of the admissions Blackman made in hospital.

The judge found Blackman was currently unfit to stand trial and referred him to the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

He will be kept in custody pending further orders of the court.

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