Jury hears from accused killer

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Supreme Court trial under way over motorcycle crash which killed 10-year-old Bunbury girl.
Camera IconSupreme Court trial under way over motorcycle crash which killed 10-year-old Bunbury girl. Credit: South Western Times

A jury has heard for the first time from the man accused of killing 10-year-old Haylee Michelle Ross in a horrific Waterloo motorcycle crash in 2016.

Paul Ramon Gelmi, 47, is on trial over the crash which occurred about 1.5km from his farm.

Haylee was declared dead just seven minutes after paramedics arrived at the scene where Mr Gelmi allegedly lost control of the motorcycle he was riding after a day of drinking beer with friends, including Haylee’s father.

Haylee was a pillion passenger and was not wearing a helmet when she sustained a “catastrophic” blow to the head, described in a post mortem as “non-survivable”.

Mr Gelmi was charged with manslaughter – upgraded from an original charge of dangerous driving causing death, with prosecutors arguing that Mr Gelmi unlawfully killed Haylee by willed acts and criminal negligence.

On day three of the trial in Bunbury’s Supreme Court yesterday, a 65-minute police interview conducted in the days after the deadly crash was played to the jury.

In the interview, Mr Gelmi was at times emotional and told police he did not remember the crash.

Mr Gelmi had taken Haylee to look for her father and sister who were riding other motorcycles on the farm before he allegedly failed to navigate a “sweeping” left bend on Clifton Road and crashed in a gully.

Mr Gelmi said he remembered driving up his driveway because his dog had ran back to the house, but he could not remember what happened next.

“I don’t know why I was on the road – why I went past the driveway,” Mr Gelmi said as he started to cry.

“The next thing I can remember, I’m pretty much being loaded into a helicopter and holding something in my neck.”

Mr Gelmi was also injured in the crash and had to be airlifted to hospital after a mirror stalk became lodged in his neck.

Police asked Mr Gelmi why he did not take another vehicle to look for Haylee’s family instead of the unregistered motorcycle.

“I don’t drink and drive at all – that’s why I can’t understand why I was on that road,” Mr Gelmi responded.

Throughout the trial, defence barrister Linda Black has maintained Mr Gelmi admitted he had been drinking after recording a 0.136 blood alcohol level, but was arguing he still had control of the motorcycle.

Asked by police whose fault the crash was, Mr Gelmi responded “probably me”.

“I don’t think anyone else was there, I was in control of the vehicle, wasn’t I,” he said.

Mr Gelmi cried uncontrollably at the end of the interview when he said he wished Haylee was never hurt and that it was “one of the worst things that ever happened” to him.

During day two of the trial on Tuesday, the jury heard from the first responders to the crash including those who did CPR on Haylee.

Mr Gelmi started crying in court when a paramedic told how Haylee had no “shock-able rhythm” and the catastrophic injury to her skull was obvious.

The trial continues.

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