BILL AND PAULINE THOMAS MURDERS: Police faced horror scene

Ian Thomas being taken away from the St Kilda Road Police station, in Melbourne, after being taken into custody in April last year. Picture: FAIRFAX

Ian Thomas being taken away from the St Kilda Road Police station, in Melbourne, after being taken into custody in April last year. Picture: FAIRFAX

THE man accused of shooting his father and strangling his mother has pleaded not guilty to double murder.

Ian David Thomas, 36, reappeared before Wangaratta Magistrates Court yesterday as evidence into the deaths of his parents, Wangaratta’s Bill and Pauline Thomas, resumed.

The couple were found dead at their Great Alpine Road property on April 22 last year.

Thomas was arrested and charged with their murder two days later.

An indication of the level of horror police faced began to form yesterday when Victoria Police forensic officer Erin Pirie gave evidence.

She told the court of the blood stains marking the floors, walls and ceilings of the property that had once been the home to the couple and their five children.

RELATED:  Bodies laid on doonas, court hears

Ms Pirie said Mrs Thomas was found lying face up on the lounge-room floor, wrapped in a doona that was steeped with blood.

Her husband was nearby, lying on top of a separate doona.

When the hearing began in May, the court was told Thomas had strangled his mother in a shed before dragging her body inside, where he waited for his father.

When Mr Thomas arrived home, police said his son shot him in the chest before bludgeoning him with a blunt instrument.

Homicide squad detective Sen-Constable Chris Hill yesterday told the court that a mobile phone triangulation check had revealed Mr Thomas’ phone was in Meredith, near Geelong.

Thomas was later arrested at a Meredith property belonging to his former lover, Jacinta Emselle.

Mrs Emselle had previously given evidence in May that Thomas had confessed to the murders.

She also said she had agreed to give him a place to hide because she was scared of him.

Thomas, yesterday dressed in jeans and a maroon jumper, was expressionless as the evidence was presented.

As the hearing finished and magistrate Stella Stuthridge committed him to stand trial on two counts of murder, he stood tall and spoke in a clear voice the only words he has spoken throughout the proceedings: “Not guilty on both charges, your honour.”

He was ordered to appear at Melbourne Supreme Court on July 30 for a directions hearing, where his barrister John Desmond indicated he would be seeking a change of venue.

The hearing’s conclusion brings the extended Thomas family, many of whom have been present every day of court, a step closer to a resolution.

Mr Thomas’ brother Alan said the past year had been incredibly tough and had “torn the family up”.

“I don’t think anybody could stand up and say they’re cut out for this,” he said yesterday, after the hearing.

“But we stick together... and we’ll get through it.”

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