Matthew Cook is alleged to be the ‘right-hand man’ of a co-accused charged with attempted murder.
Matthew Cook is alleged to be the ‘right-hand man’ of a co-accused charged with attempted murder.

Girl, 3, at centre of shooting

ERNIE Wilson was whacked over the head with the butt of a sawn-off shotgun and then shot in the stomach in a dispute over the whereabouts of a three-year-old child.

A possible motive for the shooting became public when alleged gunman Christopher John Dales, 30, and co-accused Matthew David Thomas Cook, 27, faced the Mackay Magistrate’s Court yesterday charged with attempted murder and other charges.

A female witness saw Dales and Cook get out of a vehicle outside Mr Wilson’s Sugarshed Road residence at Glenella on Tuesday with Dales carrying a sawn-off shotgun, prosecutor Sergeant Cindy Searle said.

Police will allege that Dales had given his three-year-old daughter to the occupant of the residence, Ernest Neville Wilson, to look after her. However, Wilson let the child leave the house with two other people to care for her.

Dales and Cook entered the house and there was an argument. Dales allegedly hit Wilson over the head with the weapon, shot him in the stomach and then fired another shot into the air which ricocheted off a mirror.

“The two people (with the child) came forward on Thursday night and said they were fearful of coming forward and feared for their safety,” Sgt Searle said.

It is believed the child is now in safe custody.

Police arrested Dales on Thursday when he was at a bank. Police seized a bag he was carrying and allegedly found methyl-amphetamines, $750 in cash, a notebook containing names, and phones which had messages about drug distribution, Sgt Searle said.

Cook, who was alleged in court to be Dales’ “right-hand man”, was located walking along Bridge Road on Thursday and police then searched his residence and located part of a sawn-off barrel from a shotgun, methyl-amphetamines, a set of scales, a used needle and syringe, a flick knife and an extendable metal baton.

Cook allegedly made admissions about trying to dispose of the shotgun, Sgt Searle said.

The shotgun has not been located.

Bail for both men was opposed, police alleging that people were fearful of them, that they might threaten or interfere with witnesses.

Cook was granted bail with a $5000 surety on condition he lives with his parents in Eton, reports to Mackay and Eton police twice a week, and that he has no contact with Dales, Ernest Neville Wilson or a female witness.

In granting bail, Magistrate Ross Risson noted that Cook was not charged as the principal offender.

The bail application for Dales was adjourned until Monday and he was remanded in custody.

Ernie Wilson remains in a stable condition in the Mackay Base Hospital.

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