Thursday, 15 September 2011

Puddy in heated call to murder-accused


The best mate of missing multimillionaire businessman Craig Puddy has told a Perth court of a heated phone conversation between Mr Puddy and the bar manager accused of killing him. Cameron James Mansell, 39, is on trial in the West Australian Supreme Court for the murder of Mr Puddy, 45, who has not been seen since May 3 last year when he was allegedly killed in his $3.5 million Mt Pleasant home. Mr Puddy was part-owner of a bar called Basement On Broadway, in which he had invested $700,000, and Mansell was the manager. Defence lawyer Anthony Eyers has said Mansell fled the state after witnessing a "brutal" attack on Mr Puddy over a drug debt. But Prosecutor Bruno Fiannaca alleges Mr Puddy and his business partner, Martin Rogers, believed Mansell was mismanaging the bar and stealing money from the safe, which led to a confrontation between Mr Puddy and Mansell. Mr Puddy's "best mate" Paul Vesa told the court on Wednesday he was present on the morning of May 3 when Mr Puddy took a call from the National Australia Bank telling him the rent on the bar had not been paid and the bank was going to foreclose on the lease. He said Mr Puddy left a message for Mansell and called Mr Rogers to ask him why the rent had not been paid. When Mansell returned Mr Puddy's call, Mr Vesa heard his friend say, "Oh, you decide to f***ing ring me now?" Mr Vesa also said Mr Puddy seemed in "disbelief" that Mansell had suggested money was missing from the bar safe because Mr Puddy had taken it. Mr Puddy's sister, Nadine Puddy, told the court earlier on Wednesday that although her brother used cocaine and ecstasy "on social occasions" he did not like to associate with drug dealers. Ms Puddy said her brother became involved in the bar as an "indulgence" but he became unhappy about the running of the bar and wanted to sell it. Ms Puddy, her mother, Mr Vesa and a few friends went to Mr Puddy's house on May 4 after no one had heard from him since the previous night. She saw "bright red spots splattered" on a wooden chopping board in the kitchen, and when she looked up to the ceiling, she saw what she knew for sure was blood. The prosecution alleges Mansell hit Mr Puddy on the head with a blunt object at least twice before putting his body in a wheelie bin and disposing of it at an unknown location. The trial before Justice Michael Murray and a jury continues.

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