Man accused of fatal hit and run resprayed van, court told
STUART Charles Newman allegedly resprayed his van and searched online for plane tickets overseas in the weeks after 22-year-old cyclist Tim Watkins was hit and killed, it has been revealed in court today.
Mr Newman, 51, stands accused of striking Mr Watkins at Wilsons Creek Rd near Mullumbimby almost two months ago, before allegedly fleeing the scene without calling for assistance.
Mr Watkins' bike was found in three pieces by his deceased body almost 50m away from where Mr Newman is accused of hitting him in the early hours of June 23.
Mr Newman had been living with his mother in Bellingen following the incident. He handed himself in to police at Coffs Harbour yesterday - 10 weeks after the tragedy.
It is alleged by police he had handed himself after becoming aware detectives had begun making inquiries in Bellingen.
Reading out the police facts at Coffs Harbour Local Court this morning, Magistrate James Gibson said it was a 17-year-old girl who came across the horrific scene and reported it to police.
Mr Watkins had died at the scene from his traumatic injuries.
Police alleged in court Mr Newman, who was living in Mullumbimby at the time, was aware of the extensive media coverage following the hit and run.
According to his computer records he had been searching his own name in relation to the incident, as well as the plane tickets.
Police said he had his vehicle repainted a different colour and attempted to have the vehicle reclassified with the RMS.
Magistrate Gibson denied him bail based on the strength of the case and his previous attempts at evasion.
"According to the facts, from the point of impact the man was dragged or flung some 47 metres to where the debris from his bike and the motor vehicle came to rest," Magistrate Gibson said.
"On that alone there is no doubt the driver was aware of the impact. He then didn't make any notification to police or call Triple 0.
"Computer records clearly show Mr Newman was aware of the investigation and didn't come forward, and it wasn't for some months until investigators were able to piece together that he was located in Bellingen.
"He has made admissions to striking him with the car and leaving the scene … clearly there is a strong case against Mr Newman for the offences that have been laid against him."
Mr Newman, grey-haired and dressed in black at the dock, made eye contact with his mother across the courtroom and dropped his head low when bail was refused.
He has not yet entered a plea on the charges of dangerous driving occasioning death, negligent driving occasioning death, and failing to stop and assist after vehicle impact causing death.
Mr Newman will appear at Tweed Heads Local Court on October 23.