The man accused of murdering Korean exchange student Eunji Ban told psychiatrists in 2016 he was exaggerating his symptoms and he would prefer to be found unfit for trial because any other outcome would “distress his mother”, court hears.
- Eunji Ban was killed in a random early morning attack in Brisbane’s CBD in 2013
- Murder accused Alex McEwan claims a demon made him kill Ms Ban and decorate a tree with her hair
- The prosecution says Mr McEwan told psychiatrists he was exaggerating his symptoms because he wanted to be found unfit for trial
Alex Reuben McEwan is on trial for the murder of Eunji Ban, who suffered horrific head injuries when she was set upon in a random early morning attack in November, 2013.
Ms Ban was bashed by Mr McEwan, who punched her repeatedly in the face before dragging her body up stairs and under a tree in Wickham Park in Brisbane’s CBD.
Mr McEwan told the Supreme Court trial that a demon named “Jazzy” made him kill her, and that he decorated a tree with her hair “like a Christmas tree”.
Mr McEwan, now 25, previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter but his plea was rejected by the prosecution who are pursuing him on a murder charge.
Taking the stand, Mr McEwan recounted his recollection of the killing, telling the court he went to bed just before midnight, before waking up early the next morning and walking through the park.
“I walked down the steps onto the streets, and I saw a silhouette on the other side of the road and I attacked,” he said.
When asked by defence barrister John Allen why he attacked, he said “it was the demon”.
“I was trying to stop myself, I was trying to call out help … I was trying to think of anything I could do to stop my actions,” he said.
“I couldn’t control my body. I began choking her, then punching her and kicking her.
“She was dead on the side of the road.”
Mr McEwan told the jury he dragged her by the hands and hair up the stairs, and placed her under a tree in Wickham Park.
“I don’t know why, but I decorated the tree beside her with her hair like it was a Christmas tree,” he said.
He said when he woke up the next morning he was “very nauseous” and vomited before going to hospital to have his hand treated.
He said he could remember hitting Ms Ban and dragging her, but he looked on the internet to see if what he had done was true.
The court heard Mr McEwan was Christian, his family would regularly attend church, and he had previously done missionary work in China.
McEwan ‘exaggerates symptoms’
During cross examination, crown prosecutor David Meredith suggested Mr McEwan was in fact in control at the time of the killing.
“You did say to police you laid down beside her, so taxi drivers would think you were two drunk people,” Mr Meredith said to Mr McEwan.
“You were in control at the time otherwise you wouldn’t have stopped to hide it.”
But Mr McEwan denied the claims saying it was “Jazzy”.
“It’s convenient because you don’t want to accept to yourself or more importantly to your family that it’s just you being evil rather than you being psychotic,” Mr Meredith said.
“That was something that motivated you to exaggerate your symptoms.”
“No that’s not true,” Mr McEwan replied.
Mr McEwan told the court he was not mentally ill at the time but was possessed by a demon and “didn’t mean to do it”.
Demon had ‘horse-like legs and horns’
Mr McEwan told the jury he first started feeling an evil presence when he was around six or seven years old, but did not know it was a demon until he was 18.
“He’s been following my whole life … I call him Jazzy,” he said.
“I could feel his presence beside me as I slept. Just evil … it makes you sick.”
When asked why he named the demon “Jazzy”, Mr McEwan said it was because he started listening to jazz music at the time.
Mr Allen then asked Mr McEwan what the demon looked like.
“He has horse-like legs, with hooves and a hairy human torso. He has normal hands with claws and a goat’s head with horns and sharp teeth, and he is very muscular,” Mr McEwan replied.
For the first time, the jury heard Mr McEwan had previously stood trial for murder, but that matter was abandoned when the court heard the demon “Jazzy” was telling him to attack the prosecutor.
Mr McEwan often spent time in Wickham Park smoking marijuana and speaking to God and his late nana, the court heard.