17 Nov 2009

Trial begins over Opotiki killing

10:34 pm on 17 November 2009

The jury in the trial of two teenage girls accused of beating to death a retired teacher in Opotiki has been shown graphic photographs of the scene.

John Rowe, 78, was found dead in his bed in the Bay of Plenty town last November.

Courtney Pauline Churchward, who was 17 at the time, and a 15-year-old girl have each pleaded not guilty in the High Court at Rotorua.

The Crown contends this was a savage and calculated killing by Ms Churchward, and her joint accused.

Two police officers and a forensic scientist gave evidence on Tuesday, with the scientist explaining a series of diagrams and photographs of Mr Rowe's bedroom.

She said it was most likely there were multiple impacts at the pillow end of the bed, where the Crown says Mr Rowe was left with a broken arm and fingers consistent with warding off blows from his walking stick and a wooden broom handle.