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Witnesses Tell Court About Dunedin Attack

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 9 NZPA - The Crown moved on to evidence relating to a sex attack on a 21-year-old Dunedin student on the fourth day of the High Court trial of Liam James Reid in Christchurch on charges of murder, attempted murder, and rape.

The Crown alleges it was Reid who attacked the woman as she walked alone in central Dunedin early on November 24 last year, dragging her into bushes near a carpark.

The Crown said she was raped, sexually violated, robbed and an attempt was made to murder her.

Reid is also on trial for the murder of Christchurch woman Emma Louise Agnew, who disappeared on November 15 last year.

An employee at a Dunedin central city office told of calling there at 12.30am on November 24 to pick up his bicycle, after an evening out with workmates.

As he entered he saw a man and woman standing in the shadows in an alcove of the building. He only saw them briefly, Christchurch Court News website reported.

"There was no sign of any violence or screaming. No sound at all," said the man, Peter Van Nugteren.

Kristy Drinnan, a staff member at a central city Night and Day store on the corner of George Street and St Andrew Street, told of a man coming into the store at 3am that day.

She described a tattoo on his neck and she pointed out Reid in court.

She said he was wearing a T-shirt and didn't seem drunk.

"He had dirt all over the front of his shirt," she said.

The court was played the security camera footage showing the man's visit to the store, where he bought a cellphone top-up card.

Earlier, a Nelson man told the court how Reid came to a marina there and asked around -- even putting a notice on the board -- for passage to Australia.

Kenneth Andrew pointed out Reid today in c ourt.

Mr Andrew said Reid was tanned, wearing a beanie hat, had tattoos and was foul-mouthed when he came to the marina on November 17, two days after Miss Agnew went missing.

He approached Mr Andrew as well as Burton Shipley, the husband of former prime minister Jenny Shipley.

"He came up and asked if we would take him to Australia. Said he was looking for passage. He asked both of us," Mr Andrew said.

"He said if I took him he would pay for my fuel. I thought that was hilarious. He introduced himself to me as Liam."

Mr Andrew asked why he didn't fly because it was cheaper and Reid said he could not get a passport because he was in trouble with the law.

He asked Mr Andrew if he would drop him off a mile offshore and he would get somebody in Australia to meet him. He said he had family there.

Both men declined the request. Mr Andrew later showed the police a notice on the marina kiosk notice board from someone wanting to work his passage to Australia. It was from someone named Liam, and gave a cellphone number.

Forensic pathologist Dr Martin Sage told the court of examining the body of Miss Agnew where it was found at Spencer Park, in Christchurch, and later doing the post mortem.

There was a deep tissue bruise on the side of her neck which could have come from a punch or kick, a blow with an instrument, a fall, or an attempt at throttling.

She had a sock stuffed in the back of her throat which had forced her tongue backwards and completely blocked her airway.

There was no damage to the larynx which sometimes accompanies throttling.

Dissection showed a deep bruise to the genitals, a blunt force injury, which was unusual in cases of sexual assault, and extremely unusual when consenting sex occurred. A kick or punch to the genital area could have caused the injury.

Reid denies raping and murdering Miss Agnew, and raping, sexually violating, robbing, and attempting to murder the 21-year-old woman in Dunedin nine days later.

The trial before Justice Lester Chisholm and a jury is expected to take at least a month, with the Crown calling evidence from 106 witnesses.

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