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Murder Accused Chose To Run Woman Down, Court Told

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland, April 13 NZPA - A man who had stolen a woman's handbag chose to run her down with a stolen car rather than stop or give it back, a court has been told.

Christopher Shadrock is on trial at the High Court in Auckland for the murder of Joanne Wang, 39, who died after she was run down in the Manukau Mall carpark on June 16 2008, after her handbag had been snatched.

Five other men -- Maka Tuikolovatu, Lionel Tekanawa, Vila Lemanu, Mateni Lynch and Terence Tere -- face charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder.

Tuikolovatu is charged with hiding Ms Wang's handbag, while the other four are accused of setting fire to the stolen car.

Shadrock, Tuikolovatu, Tekanawa and Lemanu also face charges of the theft of Ms Wang's handbag, which had about $4000 cash inside it.

Crown prosecutor Christine Gordon, SC (senior counsel), told the jury Shadrock was driving a Nissan which had been stolen from the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes early on June 16.

She said Shadrock took the Nissan to the Manukau Mall that afternoon intending to steal a handbag, and that Tuikolovatu, Tekanawa and Lemanu were in a green Mitsubishi intending to assist Shadrock.

Ms Gordon said Mrs Wang would not normally have been at the mall in that time but she chose to leave work early at one of the businesses she ran with her husband because she wanted to spend time with her brother, who was visiting from the United States.

She picked up her eight-year-old son and went to Manukau Mall before leaving about 3.31pm, heading towards her Toyota in the carpark.

Shadrock, who had been circling the carpark -- with four colleagues in a Mitsubishi driving behind him -- pulled up near the Toyota, reached across the passenger's side and grabbed the handbag before running back to his car, Ms Gordon said.

She said Mrs Wang chased Shadrock back to the car, where he tried to reverse to avoid her.

But when his way back was blocked by an incoming car, he chose to accelerate and drive straight into her, she said.

"The acceleration shows Shadrock's conscious choice to hit Mrs Wang with the Nissan in order to escape," she said.

"He could have dumped the stolen vehicle and run to the Mitsubishi, he could have thrown her handbag out of vehicle, but he chose to hit her to escape and avoid detection," Ms Gordon said.

Ms Gordon said the white Nissan then left the carpark, with the green Mitsubishi following it out of the carpark.

Mrs Wang died the following day from a brain injury.

Ms Gordon told the jury Tuikolovatu chose to hide the handbag at his girlfriend's place in order to stop police tracking it down. It was found later that week with all the cash missing.

She said Tere and Lynch helped Lemanu and Tekanawa burn the white Nissan at Manukau Velodrome two days after Mrs Wang was hit.

The jury of five men and seven women are tomorrow due to visit the scene of the incident which led to Ms Wang's death.

The trial before Justice Rodney Hansen is due to last four weeks.

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