Kidnapped, knife held to throat

A WAHGUNYAH man held a woman at knifepoint and threatened to kill her in a violent domestic dispute, a court has been told.

Police allege Christopher Quirk, 37, was coming down from the drug ice when he took the woman captive in the incident, which culminated in him swimming to an island in the middle of the Murray River to try to evade arrest.

Quirk, of Main Street, remains in custody at Junee jail after his bail application yesterday was refused during an out-of-sessions hearing.

Statements tendered to the court allege Quirk had arranged to meet the woman, his de facto of 13 years, at a house in Pinot Crescent, Corowa, on Tuesday at 12.45pm.

Quirk became irrational and argued with the woman before taking out a large pocket knife and forcing her onto the couch.

She tried to call police but he switched off her phone then forced her into her car.

The couple’s 12-year-old daughter, who was inside the house at the time, refused to leave her mother’s side and also got in the car.

Quirk is alleged to have continued to hold the knife to the woman and forced her to drive to an isolated spot in South Corowa, saying: “I’m going to kill you. Today we’re both going to be dead”.

He held the knife to her throat and forced her to drive down a dirt track where he kneed her in the chest and punched her in the face, before making her drive him back to Wahgunyah.

Quirk stopped her and got out at the bridge over the Murray River and the woman immediately drove to the police station.

Police say they saw Quirk driving down Sturt Street, Corowa, about 6.30pm and followed him to bushland near the Murray River, where he got out of the vehicle and swam across the river to the other side before he disappeared.

They spotted him later on a small island, where a three-hour stand-off ensued, with Quirk saying he had a knife and threatening to harm himself.

He was arrested and charged with aggravated detain for advantage, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence, breaching an apprehended violence order, and breaching bail conditions.

Police said Quirk was coming down from ice at the time, a drug he used daily.

He was also charged with stalking relating to another offence from December 2013, when he is alleged to have sent a series of text messages to the woman including: “I’m coming to gut you like a pig.”

Quirk was also on bail at the time, related to firearms offences from November 2013.

Police prosecutor Sgt Shannon Lewis said police opposed bail given the seriousness of the allegations, and that he had breached previous bail.

Quirk’s solicitor said he was willing to live with his brother in Corowa and remain under house arrest if granted bail.

But Albury Court registrar Wendy Howard said she was “not willing to take that risk” of further offences.

He was ordered to appear before court again next Monday via video-link.