The first witness in the trial against a man accused of killing four people during shootings over Darwin city center has told the court he threatened to kill her.
- Benjamin Hoffmann, 47, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder
- He is accused of killing four men in shootings over Darwin in 2019
- His lawyer told the jury that his client’s “state of mind” is central to the case
Benjamin Glenn Hoffmann, 47, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder and several other charges, including a threat to kill and ruthlessly endangering life while armed with a pump-shotgun.
Sir. Hoffmann is accused of killing four men – Hassan Bayoun, Michael Sisois, Nigel Hellings and Robert Courtney – during an alleged ravage of Darwin’s inner suburbs in June 2019.
In his opening statement, Crown Prosecutor Lloyd Babb told the SC jury that they would hear evidence after which Hoffmann took methamphetamine in the afternoon of the alleged killings and armed himself with a shotgun and a “Bowie knife”.
Sir. Babb said psychiatrists who assessed Mr Hoffmann in jail would prove that “the accused, in their opinion, had no psychiatric illness”.
But Mr Hoffmann’s lawyer Jon Tippett QC urged the jury to consider his client’s “state of mind” and said it would be an important element of the trial.
“The central issue in this lawsuit is the state of mind,” Tippett said.
‘Threat to kill’ claim
The first witness, Kylie Wilkins, told the court that Hoffmann threatened to kill her in a rural property in Humpty Doo in the afternoon after the shootings.
She said he arrived at the property gate while her mother was visiting.
“He was looking for my friend Kelly to see if she was there,” Mrs. Wilkins said.
“I confronted him and asked him to leave my property, he was not welcome, he violated and [to] please go. “
Mrs Wilkins said Mr Hoffmann had “some sort of gun” and went into her house to search all the bedrooms.
She said Mr Hoffmann threatened her after she refused to hang up her phone or reveal her friend’s location.
“He said, ‘You better not call the police, or I’ll blow your head off,'” Wilkins told the court.
“That was when I got scared and I said, ‘You’re scaring me now, please leave my property.'”
Mrs Wilkins’ mother Judith Wilkins also testified that she saw Mr Hoffmann walking back and forth with a large pistol.
Proof to include GPS data
Earlier, Mr Babb said police had been able to determine Mr Hoffmann’s movements to two properties in Humpty Doo and various locations in Darwin using GPS data from an electronic wristband.
“Mr. Hoffmann had a surveillance foot on as a condition of his probation for independent matters,” Babb said.
At the start of the trial, Supreme Court Justice John Burns told members of the jury that they would be taken from the courtroom on Thursday to attend a “viewing” of several pages relevant to the trial.
The trial is set for nine weeks and up to 150 witnesses are expected to testify.