24 Aug 2015

Girl tells murder trial of seeing cousin stabbed

7:12 pm on 24 August 2015

The cousin of the boy killed in a Grey Lynn street fight has described the moment she saw him stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle.

Vincent Angene Skeen, who is 17, has denied murdering Luke Tipene, who played for New Zealand's under-16 rugby league side.

Luke Tipene

Luke Tipene Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Nadene Togiavalu told Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey in the High Court in Auckland she saw a boy smash a bottle before stabbing her cousin Luke Tipene in the neck.

"He smashed it and then stabbed it into Luke's throat."

Ms Togiavalu said Mr Tipene then walked towards her with his hands over his throat.

"I said to him: 'Cuz, are you ok?' and he said: 'Yeah'."

She said a short time later Mr Tipene collapsed to the ground.

Earlier she told the court that she, Mr Tipene and another cousin were at her mother's home in West Auckland when one of the boys started getting texts from a friend.

The friend was at a Halloween Grey Lynn party and was texting about an impending fight.

She said Mr Tipene and her other cousin wanted to go and back this boy up.

Ms Togiavalu said, when they arrived, about 50 young people came out of a building and formed a circle.

She said initially it appeared to be a one-on-one fight, but others got involved and at one point four boys appeared to be on her cousin's friend.

She said Mr Tipene told her to go back to the car because it wasn't safe.

Ms Togiavalu said her cousin intervened and punched one boy to the ground before another boy bent down, broke a beer bottle, and stabbed Mr Tipene in the neck.

Under cross-examination from Mr Skeen's lawyer Michele Wilkinson-Smith, Ms Togiavalu said Mr Tipene and her other cousin were intoxicated and that was why she drove them.

Lawyer says accused didn't intend to kill

Earlier today, the Crown said Mr Tipene was found with 12 wounds.

Crown prosecutor Zannah Johnston said one of the wounds pierced Mr Tipene's jugular vein.

She said the original fight was probably over a girl, but that was irrelevant.

Ms Johnston said witnesses who saw Mr Tipene stabbed described the fatal blow as a hammer-like action.

But Mr Skeen's other lawyer, Lorraine Smith, said her client never intended to kill.

Mrs Smith said, while her client accepts responsibility for his actions, he never had the intent of killing Mr Tipene and never knew his actions could cause death.

Mrs Smith said her client did something foolish when he swung with the bottle but if he was guilty of anything, it was manslaughter - not murder.

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