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Prison trio to be questioned over Mildura attempted murder

Date

Steve Butcher

Melbourne detectives will interview three prisoners over the attempted murder of a man who was bashed and had two fingers severed the day after celebrating his 50th birthday.

A court heard on Thursday that David James was "viciously" assaulted by offenders armed with several blunt and edged weapons at a house in Mildura in 2013.

Detective Senior Constable Amanda Cohen told Melbourne Magistrates Court that Mr James sustained significant blunt trauma from multiple blows to the head with weapons that included a hammer-like instrument.

Senior Detective Cohen, of the Victoria Police armed crime taskforce, said the victim also had two fingers severed, spent several months in hospital and some weeks in an induced coma.

She and a colleague applied to magistrate Gerard Lethbridge to interview Rohan McTeare, aged in his late 20s, and Brett Lovell and Anthony Moss, both in their late 30s, over the incident.

They also sought DNA samples from the men as part of an ongoing investigation that has an outstanding $100,000 reward for information.

Senior Detective Cohen said investigators had been told that the three men were involved in the assault and that Mr Lovell had cut off the fingers.

She testified that a search of a house of an associate of Mr Lovell's found a large amount of blunt and edged weapons and that a number appeared to have blood on them.

Senior Detective Cohen also stated that police had intercepted a text message from Mr Lovell's phone, after a police media release was issued, that suggested he was involved.

Fairfax Media was not present for the application for Mr McTeare who, like the other two men, appeared via video link from a prison, and which was granted.

Mr Lovell denied he had previously refused an application for a DNA sample, which he told Mr Lethbridge he was prepared to give to "eliminate me from these inquiries".

In granting the police application, Mr Lethbridge said he was satisfied there were reasonable grounds for suspecting he was involved in the matter.

Senior Detective Cohen said a description, provided by a witness, of a man with another who visited Mr Ryan's house the night before the assault matched that of Mr Moss.

The search of Mr Moss' home last January located the weapons, she said.

Mr Moss also denied he had ever refused to provide a DNA sample, saying he had never been asked to and had no objection to taking one.

"I'll give you a pint of blood," he told the court.

Mr Lethbridge granted the application.

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