25 Oct 2008

Agnew murder-accused says he was framed

2:49 pm on 25 October 2008

The man accused of murdering Emma Agnew says he never met the deaf woman and he has been framed for her murder.

Liam Reid, 36, is charged with raping and killing Ms Agnew on 15 November last year, and raping and attempting to kill a university student in Dunedin nine days later. He denies the charges.

The defence began its case at the High Court in Christchurch on Friday in front of a packed public gallery.

Mr Reid is the first of four witnesses to be called for the defence, which has begun its case after nearly three weeks of Crown evidence from more than 100 witnesses.

He told the court that, sometime after 10am on the morning of 15 November, he met a friend and they drove out to the Christchurch suburb of Shirley to get some methamphetamine.

The Crown alleges that around that time, Mr Reid was driving Ms Agnew out to Spencerville, near Christchurch, where she was killed.

Mr Reid said he drove around with his friend for about an hour before returning to the backpackers he was staying at to inject methamphetamine.

He told the court his memory is a bit hazy on the events of that day.

"When I woke up on the 15th of November I had no idea I was going to get framed for murder two weeks later, so I haven't really recorded anything in my memory photographically," he said.

Mr Reid would not reveal his friend's name, saying it might get him in trouble. However, he maintains that he never met Ms Agnew.

Earlier this week, Mr Reid's former girlfriend gave evidence for the Crown, saying she broke up with him because he was violent towards her, but the accused says she enjoyed the violence.

She says Mr Reid confessed both crimes to her.

Mr Reid told the court on Friday that his former girlfriend was a drug dealer and said she brought large quantities of drugs with her when she went to visit him in Milton last year.

The defence has argued that the former girlfriend is an unreliable witness, who lied about her relationship with Mr Reid.

It will call three other witnesses to give evidence.