The mental health court found John Bircsak to be of unsound mind.
The mental health court found John Bircsak to be of unsound mind. File photo

Double axe murder accused has charges dismissed

The man charged with the alleged Calliope double axe-murder has had his charges dismissed after the mental health court found him to be of unsound mind.

For the first time The Observer can reveal what happened on the fatal night of December 6, 2018.

According to documents tendered to Gladstone Magistrates Court, at 4.41pm, a 000 call was received from a resident at the Calliope Caravan Park in relation to a man suffering severe inflicted head injuries. The man William Francis Cooper McLennan, 63, was later pronounced dead at Gladstone Hospital.

Investigations began and police attended the address of 60-year-old Rhonda Alice Daniel.

At 6.07pm, Ms Daniel was located in her residence with significant inflicted facial injuries.

She was later declared dead on site.

Court documents state the accused, John Bircsak, was seen leaving the caravan park about the same time Mr McLennan was first seen suffering injuries.

Police searched the immediate area and a tomahawk with blood stains was found within close proximity of Mr Bircsak's address.

The court documents state that about midnight the same day, Mr Bircsak made direct admissions to involvement in the deaths of Ms Daniel and Ms McLennan.

According to the court documents, Mr Bircsak stated he had killed his two neighbours with a hatchet, bashed them in the head and would be going to court.

Detectives obtained a number of recordings where Mr Bircsak admitted to these offences.

On December 7 about 1.13pm, Bircsak participated in an electronically recorded interview but said he did not wish to participate any further and he was tired and unable to concentrate.

Mr Bircsak said he wanted to obtain legal advice and after reasonable attempts were made to contact legal representation, he was charged with the two murders.

In Gladstone Magistrates Court on February 15, the court was told Mr Bircsak had been found to be of unsound mind.

The charges against Mr Bircsak were dismissed, and he will spend a minimum of 10 years in a mental health facility.


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