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Man’s ‘dying declaration’ after stabbing

A man has been charged with stabbing a 39-year-old man to death in Kempsey. Picture: Supplied by NSW Police
A man has been charged with stabbing a 39-year-old man to death in Kempsey. Picture: Supplied by NSW Police

A man made a “dying declaration” naming his alleged murderer after he was fatally stabbed on the NSW Mid North Coast earlier this year, a court has heard.

David Vale, 39, was stabbed to death on Robert Eggins Street in Kempsey about 11pm on March 1.

Emergency services were called to the scene but paramedics were unable to revive him and he died at the scene. The alleged murder weapon has not been found.

Conrad Peter Lardner, 48, has been charged with his murder after Campbelltown Local Court heard he was identified in the dying man’s last words.

Conrad Lardner was charged with murder a man in Kempsey. Picture: NSW Police
Conrad Lardner was charged with murder a man in Kempsey. Picture: NSW Police

The court heard Mr Vale made a “dying declaration” which outlined what had happened and named Mr Lardner as his killer.

“The allegation … is murder in the first degree. That he is principally responsible for the murder,” police prosecutor Robert Trethewey told the court.

Police claim there were multiple witnesses who gave evidence to police and partial CCTV that corroborate the testimony.

The court heard the witnesses told police about a man who had been wearing red and white shorts, and that Mr Lardner was arrested wearing clothing matching the description.

He appeared in court via audiovisual link wearing a white hoodie and looking tired as he made a bid for bail.

His lawyer Isabel Attwooll told the court he needed to be on bail to engage with his lawyers about the “complicated legal matter”.

He allegedly stabbed a man to death in March. Picture: NSW Police
He allegedly stabbed a man to death in March. Picture: NSW Police

She argued her client required medication for diabetes and asthma, and he would be at risk in custody because he is an Aboriginal man.

The police case contained “uncertainties and variables” and a number of “reliable witnesses”, according to the Aboriginal Legal Services lawyer.

Mr Trethewey strongly refuted the claim, characterising the case as “extraordinarily strong”.

“(In his last words) the deceased names the accused,” he said.

Magistrate Rana Daher declined to grant Mr Lardner bail, noting the police had “a strong prosecution case” and he would be able to access medication in custody.

The court heard the Airds resident has previously spent time in custody “for violence matters”.

Ms Daher adjourned his matter to return to Kempsey Local Court on July 21.

Police arrested Mr Lardner on May 17 with the assistance of specialist teams. Picture: NSW Police
Police arrested Mr Lardner on May 17 with the assistance of specialist teams. Picture: NSW Police

His wife and family blew kisses and yelled “I love you” at Mr Lardner after he was denied bail.

The large group of supporters refused to comment on his case outside court.

A woman also appeared in court on Thursday after being charged in relation to the fatal stabbing two months ago.

Leearna Nicole Davis, 31, was charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder.

She was refused bail and will return to court on July 19.