Gladstone man accused of murdering wife released on bail
A GLADSTONE father of three will be released from jail to be reunited with his family after claiming his wife's death was an accident.
Justice James Douglas, in ordering the release, said the murder case against James Andrew Beale, 36, was not strong.
He said, during a bail hearing in Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday, that a trial would involve a fight about Beale's intention to kill Tracy Ann Beale, 45.
Mrs Beale died in her home on Phillip St on January 21 this year.
"There is a history of disputes between them," Justice Douglas said.
"(Beale's) version to police is that she attacked him, she having been drinking throughout the evening, when he was in bed with two of the children.
"He got up to defend himself and in doing so put his arm around her neck rather than, as he himself said he should have done, putting his arms around her body.
"When he put his arm around her neck, it appears likely that he strangled her.
"He says he did not intend to kill her.
"There may well be the possibility for an accidental explanation of how the death occurred depending upon further examination of the pathological evidence."
Crown prosecutor Jane Shaw argued there were no markings on Mrs Beale's knuckles, which disproved her husband's story that she had been punching him.
"This was a woman supposedly punching him but she had no injuries (on her knuckles)," she said.
"There's no pre-meditation we can point to at this point but there is a history of violence".
Preliminary post-mortem examinations indicate Mrs Beale died from neck compression or strangulation but she also had 22 bruises, one large one on her arm consistent with being pushed into a door jamb, on her body internally and externally.
Ms Shaw said the Crown case included an alleged history of domestic violence reported by neighbours, mutual friends and family members.
"The applicant was quite controlling of her," she said.
Ms Shaw said a close friend told police she had a conversation with Mrs Beale not long before her death about a "massive fight" with her husband.
'"If we have another fight like that, I don't think I'll be here anymore," Mrs Beale allegedly told her friend.
The court heard allegations Beale did not attempt CPR or administer first aid.
Justice Douglas said Beale was well-regarded in his community and had strong ties to the Gladstone region which made his flight risk lower.
Beale's father must pay at $50,000 surety before his son can be released.
Beale, who must report to police three times a week, must live with his brother and sister-in-law who are looking after his three children.