Saturday, 7 March 2015

Dark history part III

Dark history part III

ACCUSED'S STORY OF CAMP DEATH (From Our Special Representative.) MORAWA

Povolis Navaras (25), single, farm labourer and Balys Grigaliunas (pictured) (35), single, railway worker, whom Navaras is alleged to have wilfully murdered at Pintharuka on February 23 had been friends before leaving Germany for Australia.
This was said by Det. G. Gooch at a preliminary hearing at Morawa, which was continued today, when he read an alleged statement by Navaras. Mr. T. Ansell, R.M., committed Navaras for trial at Geraldton.  Grigaliunas had tried to stab Navaras in Germany when they had fought over a girl, the alleged statement said. Until the attempted stabbing at Pintharuka, they had been good friends. On the day of the alleged shooting, he and Darance Hamlet Bradbrook (18), an other employee on the farm of Mr. L. Williams at Pintharuka, had been alone on the farm.  The bolt in the harvester had broken so that pair had gone to Morawa at 5 p.m. to get the bolt mended.  Accused and Colin James Munroe, another employee, had had several drinks at the Morawa Hotel.  When they left, they had taken eight bottles of beer, and he and Munroe with two other men had drunk five bottles before calling at the camp of Wladislaw Danek at Pintharuka.  "Fairly Drunk" After all Danek's beer had been drunk, Grigaliunas who had been at the camp had gone to accused's truck about 15yds from the camp and brought in all the beer left in the truck.  By then he (Navaras) was fairly drunk and so was Grigaliunas.  When about to go home accused had written a cheque for Danek to whom he owed £1. Deceased had asked for some money and started an argument when accused said he had no more. "Grigaliunas then started to abuse me," the alleged statement went on. "and was swearing at me. He was sitting on a box and he jumped up.  He had a knife in his hand.  He came at me and had the knife above his head and looked as if he was going to stab me.  I grabbed hold of the knife, which cut the palm of my right hand.  The knife dropped to the floor." Danek had grabbed deceased to stop him from using another knife that he had.  Navaras had taken the rifle from the truck because he was frightened Grigaliunas might try to stab him, the alleged statement said.  

Had Rifle
When he returned to the door of the camp, deceased was standing in the middle of the room. Accused was carrying the rifle loosely in front of him and had his finger on the trigger. "I stepped about three paces inside the door with the rifle pointing at Grigaliunas," Navaras is alleged to have told the police.  "He came towards me and grabbed hold of the barrel of the rifle with his hand and he pushed the muzzle away from his body. "When Grigaliunas grabbed the rifle it jerked my finger on the trigger and the rifle went off with an explosion." Bradbrook said in evidence that Navaras took 12 bottles of beer from the Morawa Hotel.  He heard deceased and accused arguing at the camp.  All had got into the truck to leave Danek's camp when accused found another bottle of beer on the floor and said he was going back to drink it. Bradbrook had then begun to walk home.  About ten minutes later he heard a shot then the truck had passed travelling fast with Navaras driving. Later Navaras came to his camp and said that he had shot Grigaliunas and added "I die myself."

Det. Gooch said that he had interviewed accused, whom he had found fully clothed and asleep at the farm in a caravan. Accused had asked: "How is Bill (the deceased); is he in hospital?" Witness had told him Grigaliunas was dead. Accused had said that he only fired one shot at the camp. "People there said you fired two shots and I found two cartridge shells on the floor," witness had said. "Did you fire two shots?" Accused had replied that he could only remember one.  When witness had told accused that all at the camp said deceased did not grab the rifle, Navaras had said: "I don't know, I was pretty drunk If they say he did not they must be right.  But I did not mean to kill Bill."  Constable B. P. Finlayson, of Morawa, said that Grigaliunas had been lying on the floor with a small puncture wound in the stomach and one in the back.  A bullet had passed through the wall of the room and hit the iron of the kitchen wall and had been recovered where it fells at the base of this wall. Det. Gooch said that no other bullet-holes had been found at the camp. Det.Sgt. C. E. Woodley prosecuted.

The Western Australian 27 March 1952

Grigaliunas was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

NAA record

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