One of the officers who was present when a colleague fatally shot a woman in a suburb of Geraldton says he did not draw a firearm himself because he was trying to get her to drop the knife she was holding.
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains a picture of a person who has died.
- Constable Adrian Barker was one of eight officers who attended the scene
- He met JC 10 days earlier and answered a triple-0 call she made
- Constable Barker said he tried to talk to JC to get her to drop the knife
Constable Adrian Barker was one of eight police officers who attended Petchell Street in the suburb of Rangeway in September 2019, where JC went and held a knife and a small pair of scissors.
One of the officers – who cannot be identified – shot her in the stomach and he is now on trial in the WA Supreme Court accused of her murder.
Today, Constable Barker testified that when he arrived at the scene, he recognized the person as JC because he had been called to a job after she called triple-0 and threatened to injure herself 10 days earlier.
He said he had taken JC to the hospital and stayed with her at the request of staff while she was anesthetized.
Constable Barker said when he arrived at the scene, he personalized what he said to JC because of his previous interactions with her.
He told the court he did not draw his firearm or other weapons because they were what he called “a deadly object”.
“Guns or a firearm – even a taser or pepper spray – for me, I feel, is a barrier to communication.
“I tried to talk to her to make her drop [the knife].
“I was aware that other officers were there to help me. I’m a shaky shot.”
Constable describes calling JC before shooting
Constable Barker said he called on JC to drop her weapon, but he did not shout because he considered loud noises or shouts as also “a barrier to communication”.
“Trying to speak is a better means of communication than shouting.”
He said he had one hand by his side, close to his “uses of force,” while holding the other hand out toward JC.
Constable Barker described himself as concentrating on JC’s face and said he would see an answer or an acknowledgment, but he did not get one.
He testified that the only noise she made was grinding her jaw and rubbing her mouth in a “crunch, crunch” sound.
Constable Barker described walking towards JC and hearing another say “put the knife down, you are going to be taken [sic]. “
“Shortly after, I remember a pop, a crack … and I remember JC going a little backwards to her right.”
He remembered seeing something like streamers of tassels at JC’s shoulder height, and he said because of that he thought she had been teased.
He then said he took four steps to get to her on the ground, “so I was pretty close.”
Constable Barker told the court that he later went in an ambulance with JC to the hospital and he was also present when she was pronounced dead.
The officer recalls watching events unfold from the car
Earlier – during cross-examination by the accused man’s lawyer, Linda Black – one of the other officers on the scene, Lucinda Cleghorn, told the court that she saw events unfold while she was sitting in her vehicle.
She said all her attention was focused on Constable Barker, whom she described as a friend.
“I was scared of him because from what I could see he was so close to JC. I thought he was going to be stabbed.
” [He] had no power, no weapon in his hand – he was completely vulnerable.
“He looked like he was trying to sneak up on her … he had no way to protect himself from JC. He was not even in a position where he could control the hand that had the knife because he was on it. other side of her body. “
Constable Cleghorn’s partner, Kenneth Walker, who also stayed in their vehicle, said he could see that JC was “excited”.
He said the knife moved a bit, as if “she was tying the muscles, tightening the grip and then loosening it”.
“The fact that she did not speak to us, she seemed excited and excited.”
The four other police officers who were present are expected to give their evidence when the trial resumes next week.