11 Dec 2012

Witness says murder-accused demonstrated punching

7:19 pm on 11 December 2012

A witness in the trial of two men accused of killing a Radio New Zealand journalist has told a court one of the accused demonstrated punching and kicking to her.

Nicho Waipuka, 20, and Manuel Robinson, 18, are charged with the murder of Phillip Cottrell in a central Wellington street in December last year.

Mr Cottrell was on his way home just after 5.30am after finishing an overnight shift when he was attacked on 10 December. He suffered severe head injuries and died the following day in hospital after being taken off life support.

Melissa Rutene told the court both accused came to the apartment she was staying in on The Terrace in central Wellington at about 5.45am on 10 December.

She said Mr Waipuka threw about three punches and a kick into the air. When cross-examined, Ms Rutene said it appeared that Mr Waipuka was bragging and showing off when he was punching the air.

Also on Tuesday, a forensic pathologist, Marissa Feeney, who carried out the post mortem on Mr Cottrell, told the court some of Mr Cottrell's injuries were consistent with someone falling to the ground. She said it is likely his fatal injuries were caused by a strike to the head or chest and a fall.