HE CONFESSED: Accused gave graphic details of murders

Witness Jacinta Emselle outside Wangaratta Magistrates Court yesterday. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

Witness Jacinta Emselle outside Wangaratta Magistrates Court yesterday. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

A FORMER girlfriend of the man accused of killing his Wangaratta parents says her lover confessed to the brutal double murder.

Jacinta Emselle told Wang­aratta Magistrates Court yesterday that she met up with Ian David Thomas, 36, at The Cremorne Hotel in Geelong on April 22 last year before driving him to her property in nearby Meredith.

That was the same day the bodies of his parents Bill and Pauline Thomas were found in their Great Alpine Road home.

Mr Thomas, 64, was shot in the chest and beaten around the head while his wife of 40 years was strangled.

Thomas was arrested days later in Meredith.

Earlier yesterday, the committal hearing heard from Thomas’ sister, Bernadette Cameron, who described the violent physical abuse she and her siblings had endured at the hands of their father.

Thomas shed tears during that evidence, but remained expressionless as Ms Emselle delivered her emotional testimony to a packed public gallery of relatives.

It was at the hotel, Ms Emselle said, that Thomas told her “Did you know the human skull cracks like an egg?” and claimed he’d strangled his mother with his bare hands.

“He said he put his hands around her neck and squeezed until she dropped dead." - WITNESS JACINTA EMSELLE

The couple had had an affair for several years, unbeknown to Ms Emselle’s husband, and she kept in contact with him for two months after his arrest last year.

Ms Emselle made two early statements to police in May last year, but did not tell of the confession until July.

She did not come forward earlier because she was scared for herself and her family if Thomas got out of jail.

Ms Emselle said Thomas was drinking a beer when she met him at the hotel and he smirked when she asked how his parents were.

“He said ‘not too good’ ... I said, ‘Ian you didn’t, did you?’ and he said ‘Yep’,” she said.

She said Thomas gave her graphic descriptions of his father’s body.

He also said that his mother had been “nagging” him.

“He said he put his hands around her neck and squeezed until she dropped dead,” she said.

On Wednesday the court had heard from forensic pathologist, Michael Burke, who had “no doubt” Mrs Thomas died from something placed around her neck, possibly a cable tie.

Dr Burke had said there was “no objective evidence of manual strangulation”.

Under cross-examination by defence barrister John Desmond, Ms Emselle said she was certain Thomas did not say he’d used a cable tie or similar.

Mr Desmond grilled Ms Emselle on the confession, arguing the language used in court varied greatly from her July statement to police.

She said her statements in court were the exact words used, but later said she was not sure.

Ms Emselle also told the court that Thomas had been threatening to her and others over the years and was often violent, but that she had not told anyone out of “fear and shame”.

Mr Desmond argued this was untrue, based on police conversations in which she described Thomas as “the kind of person who cries over a cat being run over”.

Ms Emselle denied Mr Desmond’s allegations that she had made up the confession out of fear she would be charged as an accessory to murder.

She said she had been offered indemnity and had sought independent legal advice on her husband’s wishes.

The hearing continues.

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