6 Oct 2008

Agnew accused faces more charges

6:17 pm on 6 October 2008

The Crown says it has an overwhelming case against the man accused of raping and murdering deaf Christchurch woman Emma Agnew, and attempting to kill a woman in Dunedin.

The Crown alleges that Liam James Reid, 36, raped and killed Ms Agnew on 15 November last year, before raping and leaving for dead a student in Dunedin nine days later.

Crown prosecutor Pip Currie told the jury on Monday that a significant aspect connecting the two cases was the level of sexual violence.

The body of Ms Agnew, 20, was found hidden in a forest north of Christchurch nearly two weeks after she vanished and her partially burnt-out car which she had been trying to sell was found.

Mrs Currie said the Crown would provide evidence that showed Mr Reid committed both crimes.

She says the 21-year-old student who was raped in Dunedin nine days after Ms Agnew vanished suffered an attack that fitted with what the Crown says was Mr Reid's modus operandi.

The court was told DNA analysis identified a hair which Mr Reid left in the back of Ms Agnew's car and that he also confessed both crimes to his girlfriend.

Defence lawyer David Bunce also addressed the jury, saying the evidence linking Mr Reid to the murder of Ms Agnew is very thin.

The case is set down for one month, during which 106 witnesses for the Crown will be called.

A team of sign language interpreters has been assigned to the case to translate evidence for witnesses who are deaf and to ensure that Ms Agnew's family and friends understand the proceedings.

Accused wanted to leave NZ - Crown

The Crown alleges the accused tried to get a ride on a yacht in the days immediately after Ms Agnew went missing.

The court was told that on 17 and 18 November, he approached Burton Shipley, the husband of former prime minister Jenny Shipley, who owns a yacht in Nelson to ask for passage to Australia.

The Crown said Mr Reid indicated he would jump ship and swim once he got to Australia.