Councillor feared ‘abusive’ stepdad: court

A popular young councillor charged with the murder of his stepfather will argue his entire life was effectively controlled by the older man, a court has been told.

Gold Coast City councillor Ryan Donald Bayldon-Lumsden, 30, was charged with murder of his stepfather Robert Malcolm Lumsden, 58, on August 23.

Mr Lumsden was in a de facto relationship with Mr Bayldon-Lumsden’s mother, Katrina Bayldon, whom he shared an 18-year-old daughter, Ruth, with.

The family of four all lived under the one roof at the Chifley Place home in Arundel.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden had called emergency services after his stepfather allegedly lost consciousness just after 3pm on August 23.

The pair had been in a physical altercation in the kitchen, where Mr Bayldon-Lumsden placed his stepfather into a chokehold.

Responding officers performed CPR on Mr Lumsden, but he was pronounced dead at 3.50pm.

His stepson was later charged with murder.

The respected councillor has since been granted bail in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Family dispute turns fatal

During Thursday’s bail application, the court was told that Mr Bayldon-Lumsden and his stepfather had allegedly argued for about two hours in the lead-up to the older man’s death.

Mr Lumsden allegedly followed his stepson into the kitchen before pushing the younger man.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden then allegedly pushed Mr Lumsden back, which forced him to fall over on the ground after tripping over their cat’s drinking bowl.

As Mr Lumsden attempted to get back up off the ground, his stepson tried to push him back down and the pair both ended up on the ground, with Mr Bayldon-Lumsden underneath the weight of his stepfather.

The court was told it was during these moments that Mr Bayldon-Lumsden allegedly placed his stepfather in a chokehold.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden’s defence barrister Craig Eberhardt KC said his client used both his arms to render Mr Lumsden unconscious because he “could not do a proper choke hold” due his stepfather’s size.

The court was told Mr Lumsden weighed 115.4kg, while his stepson weighed 53.8kg after losing about 7kg in “at least a few months caused by the stress of living with the deceased and the distressing behaviour”.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden allegedly later told police he had feared his stepfather might hurt him if he’d regained consciousness.

He’d reported to police that there was a knife on the counter nearby and he’d worried Mr Lumsden would use it to kill him.

“He told police he had no intention to kill him, he was afraid for his life,” Mr Eberhardt said.

“If he let go, the deceased would get up and kill him.

“Once (Mr Lumsden) stopped struggling, (Mr Bayldon-Lumsden) called emergency services.”

The court was told Mr Bayldon-Lumsden had trained in martial arts as a teenager and knew how to do certain chokeholds, having had them done to him more than a decade ago.

Mr Eberhardt said his client “had no intentions to hurt his stepfather” but simply wanted to stop him from attacking him.

“He’d hoped his stepfather would pass out so he could get away to call police,” he said.

“He accepted his stepfather might pass out, not die.”

The court was told Mr Bayldon-Lumsden performed CPR on his stepfather until emergency services arrived.

Councillor allegedly had no control in his own life

Mr Eberhardt described his client as a “calm, gentle and peaceful man” who had never intended to kill his stepfather.

The court was told Mr Lumsden had allegedly been a very controlling man and had dictated how his family operated.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden’s mother Katrina explained in an affidavit to the court that she was afraid of her partner.

The court was told Ms Bayldon had claimed that Mr Lumsden had a “controlling coercive and abusive nature” and “he made life at home fairly unpleasant”.

She’d explained the household was not a “happy” one, with Mr Lumsden controlling every aspect of their lives.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden alleged his stepfather had “repeatedly threatened to kill him if he didn’t do what he told him to do”, the court was told.

He also made allegations that Mr Lumsden had threatened to report him for misconduct for bringing home confidential files from council if he didn’t do as he was told.

The court was told Mr Bayldon-Lumsden had previously contacted domestic violence hotlines for advice after being concerned about his stepfather’s increased level of aggression towards him.

Searching possible defences on Google

The court was told Mr Bayldon-Lumsden had googled manslaughter self-defence options two days before the killing.

Detectives found the councillor had googled a series of questions about whether you could be jailed for killing someone in self-defence, the court was told.

His Google history allegedly showed that during the span of six minutes, Mr Bayldon-Lumsden had clicked on a story about alleged Gold Coast bikie Christos Panagakos, who in March was acquitted of the shooting manslaughter of his ex-girlfriend Ivana Jovanovic.

He then searched for further details about possible self-defence arguments if a death occurred.

Mr Eberhardt said the prosecution was “latching on” to the Google searches as evidence.

He argued the prosecution would need to prove there was intent to murder his stepfather and that his actions weren’t that of self-defence and preservation in a domestic violence setting.

The prosecution case

The DPP will allege Mr Bayldon-Lumsden placed his stepfather in a fatal chokehold after an argument between the pair.

It will also be alleged that the history between the two men formed part of the motive for Mr Bayldon-Lumsden to murder his stepfather.

Prosecutors are expected to use Mr Bayldon-Lumsden’s Google searches two days prior to the killing as evidence in the case against him.

The court was told the councillor had also trained in martial arts as a teenager for 10 years.

What happens next

During a previous court mention in Southport Magistrates Court, Mr Bayldon-Lumsden’s defence lawyer Jason Murakami said his client intended to plead not guilty.

No formal plea has been entered.

Speaking outside the Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday, Mr Murakami said people needed to be aware that anyone could be a victim of domestic violence.

“Men can be victims of domestic violence as well and we need to show them the same compassion and support as we do other victims of domestic violence,” Mr Murakami said.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden was released from custody on Thursday and fitted with a GPS tracker and ankle bracelet.

He must now live with his girlfriend, former Cirque du Soleil performer Bianca Ruyssenaers, at her Burleigh Heads home.

He also has to report to police three times a week and has surrendered his passport.

Crown prosecutor Matt Le Grand opposed the bail application on the grounds the DPP found Mr Bayldon-Lumsden posed a risk of failing to appear at his next court appearance.

But Justice Crowley granted bail on the condition on Thursday.

Ms Bayldon also committed to paying $250,000 surety on the mortgage of the home where the alleged murder occurred to allow the bail to be granted.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden was elected to Gold Coast City Council in 2020.

Acting Premier Steven Miles will have the final say on whether Mr Bayldon-Lumsden’s position as councillor is tenable following his release on bail.

It’s understood the outcome of his bail application will determine whether he remains in his Division 7 role.

Originally published as Gold Coast City councillor Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden feared ‘abusive’ stepfather: court

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