James Cleghorn's mother takes the stand in Wagga Supreme Court murder trial

Wagga Courthouse
Wagga Courthouse

The mother of Kooringal High School student James Cleghorn has broken down in tears while recalling the night of her son’s alleged murder.

Nongnuch Boonchu-Cleghorn was called to the witness box during day nine of the Wagga Supreme Court trial of Wollongong’s Bryce Cliff on Thursday.

Cliff is accused of murdering James, 16, at his family’s Acacia Street home on June 7, 2016.

The 30-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter, which was not accepted by the prosecution.   

Ms Boonchu-Cleghorn started to cry as she was questioned about her daughter’s relationship with Cliff.

The court heard James wasn’t feeling well and had stayed home from school the day he was allegedly stabbed to death.

Ms Boonchu-Cleghorn had arrived home from work about 9.30pm that night to find her street had been blocked off by police.

During evidence, Ms Boonchu-Cleghorn told Crown prosecutor Max Pincott that Cliff seemed to have gotten along with all three of her sons.

“Sometime in 2013 it was the case the accused and your daughter broke up – they separated from each other?” he said.

“Yes,” Ms Boonchu-Cleghorn said.

“After the break up the accused had attempted to contact your daughter on Facebook, is that correct?” Mr Pincott said.

“I don’t know,” Ms Boonchu-Cleghorn said.

Blood spatter analyst Sergeant Kristan Cox told the court “a good deal” of the incident had occurred in the dining and kitchen area at the Acacia Street home.

Sergeant Cox said that in his opinion, there was little evidence of a struggle aside from “toing and froing” in the foyer area.

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