Teens accused of Vic man's bashing murder

A neighbour found John Bourke's bloodied body near his crutches, a court has been told.
A neighbour found John Bourke's bloodied body near his crutches, a court has been told.

Two teenage boys are accused of fatally bashing a Victorian man with brittle bone disease and then returning to a party where one bragged about the crime.

The youths were aged 15 and 17 when they attacked John Bourke at his home in Maryborough, near Bendigo, in July 2018.

The boy who was aged 15 at the time has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter, while his co-accused has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Both teens, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admit to the assault but deny they intended to kill Mr Bourke.

The 45-year-old victim had osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, and was 133cm tall, crown prosecutor Grant Hayward told the Supreme Court jury in Bendigo on Monday.

The teens broke in through the front door of Mr Bourke's Derby Road home and assaulted him, Mr Hayward told the jury.

"He was struck and he fell to the ground...Both accused stomped on him. He was also punched. John Bourke's head was stomped on and kicked until he was dead or seriously injured," he said.

The victim was left with facial fractures, bruising and his tongue was torn in two places.

A neighbour found Mr Bourke's bloodied body near his crutches, the court was told.

Mr Hayward said the youths had been drinking at a party nearby before they went to the victim's home, because they mistakenly thought he'd hurt a friend.

But after the assault they returned to the party and one witness overheard the 17-year-old "bragging" to another partygoer that he'd bashed someone.

But lawyers for the accused said they had no intention to kill Mr Bourke.

"He does not shirk the fact that he is responsible for John Bourke's death. He simply says he did not intend to kill him and he did not intend to cause him really serious injury," barrister Rishi Nathwani said of the younger attacker.

He said it was "appalling, unwarranted and a tragedy" but said they had to consider whether the teen intended to kill Mr Bourke and his state of mind.

His co-accused's lawyer, Jarrod Williams, said his client's actions did not cause Mr Bourke's death.

"He admitted to the police that he punched him and stomped on his legs a couple of times," Mr Williams said.

"He did not have any intention to kill him or cause really serious injury, we say."

The trial in front of Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth continues.

Australian Associated Press