Bryce Cliff stands trial for allegedly murdering James Cleghorn in 2016


A witness has recalled a Kooringal High School student revealing he was going to be killed, just moments before he was stabbed to death. 

The evidence came to light on day five of the Wagga Supreme Court trial against Bryce Cliff, who is alleged to have murdered 16-year-old teenager James Cleghorn. 

Cliff, of Wollongong, has pleaded not guilty to murder.

The 30-year-old has indicated he wished to instead plead guilty to manslaughter, which was not accepted by the prosecution.  

The jury was played a NSW police video on Friday, where the witness recounted events of the night. 

The teenager's neighbour, Wade Garland, who lived beneath James' Acacia Street home, then took to the stand.


The court heard that Mr Garland arrived home from work to prepare his dinner on the afternoon of June 7, 2016, when it was interrupted by "distinctive sounds" coming from upstairs. 

Mr Garland testified the sounds were coming from a person in "absolute distress". 

Rushing outside, Mr Garland recalled the moment he "f***en legged it", before seeing James Cleghorn flit past him, fleeing his upstairs unit. 

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"I was 'bout to grab a hold of him and he slipped out of my hands saying, 'he's going to kill me'," Mr Garland said. 

The court then heard that Mr Garland was allegedly involved in a number of altercations with Cliff, while he was holding a "stabbing implement". 

Things quickly took a turn as Mr Garland gave evidence that he came across James' body in his own downstairs apartment with "blood everywhere". 

The court heard that Mr Garland slapped Cleghorn's face and poked him in the eye to determine whether he was dead. 

During cross-examination, defence counsel Eric Wilson questioned whether Mr Garland had seen a knife or a screwdriver in Cliff's hand. 

"Yes there is some doubt in my mind but I knew what he had in his hand was dangerous to my health and well-being," Mr Garland said. 

"I was very well aware of the intentions he had with whatever that item may or may not have been." 

Mr Garland told the court he had trouble identifying who he believed was Cliff as his attention was focused on the stabbing implement, rather than his appearance. 

"You were able to describe him [in a police interview]. Can you recall that?" Mr Wilson said. 

"I don't recall how I described him, can you? It'll be written in there," Mr Garland said.

"Is it fair to say a lot of things happened in a short amount of time?" Mr Wilson said. 

"My word a lot of things happened," Mr Garland said. 

The trial will continue on Monday, with another 96 witnesses remaining. 

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