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Witness Hears Woman's Screams Coming From Murder Accused's Home

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Christchurch, Jan 19 NZPA - A witness told today how he heard a woman's screams coming from the flat of a man accused of murder.

Glen Green was giving evidence at a depositions hearing for Ashley Donald Peach who is charged with murdering 52-year-old cat protection worker Kerry Leigh Downey in August last year.

He told Christchurch District Court the first scream was about 6pm, but he took no notice of it. Later he heard another scream about 8pm, which he said "left me spellbound, and in shock".

He didn't hear anything else so ignored it as well.

His friend in the flat at the time of the second scream, Michael McCabe said in evidence he heard a loud short-burst scream but just thought it was a typical domestic.

"You wouldn't think it was a homicide going on. You just brush it aside."

Peach, 41, allegedly murdered Ms Downey at Peach's flat at his Upper Riccarton, Christchurch, on August 18 last year after she called there to pick up an unwanted cat.

Her body was found on the Port Hills two days later.

The crown says belongings, documents, and items of clothing from Miss Downey were found at Peach's flat and in the rubbish skip for the block of flats.

A young man in the flat next to Peach, Luke Mason, said he had known Peach for about three weeks, had quick chats and cups of tea with him.

He said Peach told him that a woman had moved out of his flat and left a cat with him.

He already had his own cat and was only allowed one, so he had contacted someone to come and pick the cat up.

After people came knocking and asking questions about the missing woman, he and his friend questioned Peach jokingly, asking if he had kidnapped or murdered her.

At first he shrugged it off and got embarrassed, but then got offended and swore at them.

Evidence in the depositions hearing before John O'Hara and Bruce Dawson, Justices of the Peace, continued all afternoon but almost all of it was suppressed at the request of defence counsel David Stringer.

The depositions hearing is expected to end on Tuesday.

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