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Alleged machete attacker had ‘clown masks’

A gun recovered from an alleged machete-wielding man after a domestic violence assault has been lost, a NSW Supreme Court judge has been told.

Matthew Tansley, 36, applied for bail on Tuesday but had his matter stood over as the status of his firearms charges is being reconsidered by the Crown.

The Lismore man entered the woman’s home in February armed with a machete after making “concerted, persistent and organised efforts to locate her (and) on some occasions, calling her 300-400 times a day,” Justice Dina Yehia said.

A police search uncovered a pistol together with ammunition and a clown face mask, according to a police fact sheet handed to the court.

Tansley who was upstairs at the time, fled the apartment, according to initial police reports that said he had assaulted the 38-year-old woman.

Five days later he was found hiding in a motel room cupboard in the northern NSW town of Casino, where he allegedly tried to flee again but was subdued and arrested.

He faces 10 domestic violence charges including stalking and intimidation, intending to pervert the course of justice, and possessing an unregistered pistol.

Justice Yehia said Tansley was facing “very very serious allegations,” and the items found together pointed to a strong inference he intended to harm somebody.

“And I am nowhere convinced … that any of these conditions would ameliorate the risk” of his breaching bail conditions, the judge said in reference to the fact sheets.

The judge was concerned Tansley posed a serious threat to the victim.

The prosecutor told the court that the gun had been photographed in the unit block where it was found and referenced in several police statements.

“That firearm has now been lost,” the court was told.

The alleged unregistered firearm went missing before it could be forensically tested to create a ballistics report.

This means the fact sheet may need to be amended and the firearms charges could be withdrawn.

Defence lawyer Tamara Grennan said “given the circumstances of the evidence being lost,” she would be arguing against the strength of the crown case on those charges.

Justice Yehia recommended material about Tansley’s mental health be sought and brought before the next judge presiding over the bail application.

“It may be that if the facts change your client’s position may be served by having another judge,” she told Ms Grennan.

Tansley’s bail application was adjourned for callover on October 4.

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