The daughter of a woman raped and murdered in Auckland last year today broke down as she gave evidence against the man accused of killing her mother.
A 28-year-old man, who has name suppression, is on trial in the High Court at Auckland and has denied charges of raping and murdering Blessie Gotingco.
Yesterday the Crown outlined its case and said Mrs Gotingco had been run down by the accused in his car as she walked home from the bus one night last May. They say he then put her into her car before driving to his apartment, where he raped and murdered her.
Mrs Gotingco's daughter, 19-year-old Bessie Gotingco, broke down as she gave evidence today.
She began describing who lived at the family home in the Auckland suburb of Birkdale but, when she could not go any further, Justice Brewer directed the registrar to finish reading her statement.
Ms Gotingco told the court about alerting police to her mother's disappearance and later finding her iPhone and lunch on the side of the road.
At the end of her evidence, Ms Gotingco was asked to identify a white jacket and broke down again as she confirmed it was her mother's.
Earlier today, the accused man fired his lawyer, had been forced into representing himself and wanted another lawyer.
But Justice Brewer said he had been given enough time and the Crown would call its first witness if he did not want to make an opening statement.
The accused then changed his mind.
"I don't have any intention to be standing here and speaking out when I know there's a lot of hurt around what's happening with the family," he said.
"I just want to be clear its not what I want to do."
He gave a brief opening statement to the jury in which he asked them to keep an open mind and said the Crown's allegation that he had purposely run over Mrs Gotingco was just a theory.
"Will there be witnesses who saw this alleged deliberate running down? No there won't," he said.
"Will there be witnesses who will support the defence case that it was instead an accident? Yes there will be.
"Why did I put her in my car? The Crown say that it was a pre-meditated plan. The defence says no, that the evidence will show that I panicked and put her in my car and drove straight home to comply with my curfew."
The man said the rape allegation was based on microscopic DNA traces that scientists had struggled to analyse.
Note: The accused has name suppression but Radio New Zealand is able to run an image of him