You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Man killed close friend by falling on him during drunken fight at Telowie Beach, court hears

ABC News logo ABC News 26/08/2019 Rebecca Opie
Matthew Loleit was arrested and charged over the alleged murder. © ABC News Matthew Loleit was arrested and charged over the alleged murder.

A man killed his close friend when he landed on top of him during a drunken fight, causing an internal cyst to fatally rupture, a court has heard.

Rory "Meggs" Elliot, 49, from Nuriootpa died at a camping ground at Telowie Beach, in South Australia's Mid North in February 2018.

The Supreme Court is now preparing to sentence his friend Matthew James Loleit, 41, Port Pirie, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

During a pre-sentencing hearing on Monday, defence lawyer Paul Charman told the court the two men were close friends but had a history of "heated banter".

"They were very good friends who got drunk together on many occasions, who entered into argy-bargy," he said.

"This was not an isolated incident of arguing and pushing and shoving.

"For some reason on this night it went well beyond that."

The court heard Loleit brutally beat Mr Elliot during the "imbalanced fight" but that his death was specifically caused by a cyst on his spleen which ruptured when Loleit fell on top of him during the tussle.

Mr Charman said his client accepted responsibility for his friend's death and acknowledged that his response during the fight was not proportionate or appropriate.

"Given the unique circumstances of the causation of the death, it simply cannot be said that Mr Loleit at any stage could have known that the fall was going to cause death," Mr Charman said.

"Clearly he had no knowledge of the pre-existence of the cyst."

The court heard the fight broke out around midnight and the next morning Loleit offered to take Mr Elliot with him to Port Pirie, but the victim declined.

It heard when Loleit returned to the campsite in the evening Mr Elliot had bled to death.

Prosecutor Kim Eldridge told the court after finding Mr Elliot, it took Loleit two-and-a-half hours to call triple zero.

She said Loleit, who is a qualified chef, had been acting out of character for some time and had another violent outburst in the weeks leading up to Mr Elliot's death.

Rory Elliot was found dead at Telowie Beach. © ABC News Rory Elliot was found dead at Telowie Beach.

'All alone in the dark to die'

Victim impact statements written by Mr Elliot's family were read to the court, where they articulated their pain and sorrow of learning that he had been killed by a friend.

His sister Tammy Bunder said that she felt as though her "whole world imploded" when she heard the tragic news.

"When I spoke to the detective and he told me that he died because he had gone to help a mate and that mate was responsible I couldn't, and still can't, comprehend that," she said.

"No matter what sentence he receives it won't be enough for me, to put it simply, my brother isn't breathing anymore so he shouldn't be either."

Mr Elliot's other sister Angela Welks told the court that every day was a struggle since her brother's death.

"At night-time is when I struggle the most because all I can see is where my brother was laying alone while he took his last breath," she said.

"All alone in the dark to die, all alone and no-one to hold him … all alone with no-one to hear his last words.

"You didn't care and you say you were his best mate.

"I hope when your time is up, you have no-one there with you."

Mr Charman told the court his client was fully aware of the damage and grief he had caused Mr Elliot's family and was remorseful for his actions.

Justice Kevin Nicholson will sentence Loleit next month.

Photos of the week

More from ABC News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon