Sole survivor of moonshine party tells all at trial
THE sole survivor of a group of four young men who fell seriously ill after drinking homemade alcohol on a Ballandean property told police he hadn't drunk as much of the brew as the other three.
A recording of the conversation Josh Lynam had with police from his intensive care unit bed in the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane on June 14, 2013, was played to the Supreme Court in Toowoomba.
He said he and his brother Joel Lynam, 21, Vincent Summers, 21, and Bryan Wilmot, 30, were going to spend the night at a hut near a creek about a half-hour walk from the main house on the Lynam family's Puglisi Lane property on the Friday night of June 7, 2013.
Before they set off, Bryan Wilmot had asked Josh's father Bill Lynam if he could make them up some of his home-made spirits for them to drink that night.
Josh said his father retrieved a plastic tub from his distillery shed which he brought to the house and made up a brew by pouring some of that liquid into a 5l container and diluting it with water and bourbon essence to give it the taste.
"He made it up in front of us," he said.
His father poured the brew into a 2l plastic Coke bottle which the four took to the hut.
Josh told police he didn't drink alcohol often and on the night would have had a maximum of four small cups of the drink mixed with Coke while the others drank the rest.
He said the plastic bottle was thrown into the fire as they cleaned up the next day.
When they woke the next day, all had felt drunk with Brian complaining he "was blind", which Josh took to mean he had distorted vision.
"Everyone woke up in the morning feeling rubbish ... we put it down to hang-over," he said.
Josh Lynam spent four days in intensive care after the incident.
His brother Joel had died at the Lynam home on the Sunday morning of that weekend while Bryan Wilmot and Vincent Summers died shortly after.
William (Bill) Neil Clarence Lynam, 71, is accused of being criminally negligent in providing the brew which allegedly led to the deaths of the three.
He has pleaded not guilty to three counts of manslaughter and to one of grievous bodily harm.
Medical officer at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Dr Adam Griffin told the court Josh Lynam had suffered methanol toxicity.
Ethanol or alcohol is used intravenously to treat the symptoms in the hope of displacing the methanol.
He said Josh was given breathing support while he was unconscious and went through dialysis.
He had also some visual problems but that had largely been resolved, Dr Griffin said.
Asked if they had anything else that night, Josh Lynam told police that one of the group had brought some marijuana which they smoked by passing around a "billy" but he could not say whether that was "real" marijuana or the synthetic variety.
However, he said they only had enough "for one session".
The day after drinking the brew, Bryan had been picked up by a friend and went home - later to be taken to Stanthorpe Hospital after his condition deteriorated.
Josh said he, Joel and Vincent walked back up to the main house just before dark.
He said they all started throwing up and Bill Lynam had told them to drink plenty of water.
He said Joel and Vincent had gone to sleep but when he tried to lay down his head was spinning so he decided to stay up and keep an eye on the others.
"I just thought it could be something we ate, food poisoning," he told detectives.
He said he heard Joel breathing heavily, moaning and groaning but a little later he had stopped and he had thought Joel had gone to sleep.
Photographs of the Lynam property shown to the court depicted an untidy scene.
A plethora of plastic drums containing various liquids and chemicals lay in the house, in the shed housing Bill Lynam's stills and out in the open.
Few of the drums appeared to have been labelled.
During his police interview the day after his son Joel died in the house, Bill Lynam was asked why he hadn't labelled different drums alerting to what the contents were.
He replied he was the only one who dealt with the substances and he knew what was in them.
Long-time friend of Bill Lynam, Attila Palasty, told the court he had been to the Lynam property a number of times and had taken some of the product distilled in the stilling shed.
In the process of distilling alcohol from wine, the top 1% of what is produced he called "header".
"That is poison," he said. "I use it as a weed killer."
The trial before Justice Ann Lyons continues.