17 Nov 2009

Police monitored text messages in Pike murder trial

6:08 am on 17 November 2009

A Wellington jury has heard that the police monitored text messages sent by the mother of a man accused of killing a Palmerston North drug dealer.

Stephen Hudson is before the High Court in Wellington charged with murdering Nicholas Pike in March 2002 near the Desert Road.

The Crown says Mr Hudson killed Mr Pike over a drug debt, but the defence says Mr Hudson was with his family at that time.

Mr Hudson's mother, Christina Billing, said she went to see him on 16 March 2002 at his sister's home in Masterton, and he stayed there for two or three weeks.

Ms Billing said she later found out police had three witnesses who had seen Mr Hudson elsewhere at that time.

In cross-examination she admitted asking her daughter to contact alibi witnesses and tell them that, but she denied being concerned that the family's alibi was unravelling.

Earlier, Mr Hudson's half-sister, Carissa Grimmer, admitted she discussed her evidence with members of her family before the trial.

She told the court she remembered a woman being with him the day after he arrived in Masterton.

She said that woman was skinny with long dark hair.

However, the Crown says the woman with Mr Hudson was its main witness, Cindy Vrins, who had blonde hair at that time.

In cross-examination Ms Grimmer admitted she'd never told police about seeing the woman and agreed police had warned her about perjury.