30 Apr 2015

Blessie on footpath when hit says crash expert

6:30 pm on 30 April 2015

A police crash expert says he believes Blessie Gotingco was walking on the footpath when she was hit by a car.

Blessie Gotingco murder trial *****(NAME SUPPRESSION. OK TO USE IMAGE ON JUDGE'S RULING)*******

The accused, who has name suppression, in the High Court in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

A 28-year-old man, who has name suppression and is representing himself, denies raping and murdering the 56-year-old Auckland woman a year ago.

Yesterday he told the jury in his opening statement that he accidentally ran over Mrs Gotingco but then took her home because he was on a curfew.

The Crown's case is that the accused deliberately ran down Mrs Gotingco in his car, bundled her into the back seat and took her to his home, where she was raped and killed.

Sergeant Blair Atkinson today said he investigated the crash scene that included a tyre mark in the grass and a spread of Mrs Gotingco's personal items including her shoes and lunch box.

He told the High Court in Auckland that the tyre mark showed no signs of breaking but he also confirmed he could not link the tyre mark to a particular vehicle, including the accused's silver BMW.

Sergeant Atkinson, who has been with the police for 21 years, has investigated hundreds of crashes.

He said the mark in the grass suggested the car went over the pavement at some stage.

Under cross-examination from amicus Kevin Brosnahan, Mr Atkinson confirmed a google maps image from two years earlier appeared to have a mark in the grass but he could not say that was caused by a tyre.

He also confirmed that he could not definitively say where Mrs Gotingco was hit but believed she was on the footpath or the grass.

The court also heard from an 11-year-old who was making dumplings with her sister in the family kitchen at the time the Crown said Mrs Gotingco was hit by the accused's car.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, gave evidence from another room inside court by closed circuit television.

She said she heard a car come up the road and stop before a woman screamed. The car stopped moving but she could still hear the engine running. The car then drove off after a short period of time.

A neighbour of the accused, Stephen Meadows, also gave evidence.

He described hearing loud music on the night the Crown said the accused took Mrs Gotingco back to his house and raped and murdered her.

The accused cross-examined Mr Meadows himself.

He asked a series of questions about the volume of the music and pointed out that he had no stereo equipment capable of making loud noises.

Investigation details released

Details of the police investigation were also revealed today.

Detective Kelly Osborne was responsible for the body of Mrs Gotingco after it was found in bush at a North Shore cemetery - two days after she went missing.

She confirmed under cross-examination that the same patrol car was used to transport DNA samples from Mrs Gotingco and the accused to ESR in Mt Albert

She said while that was not best practice, there was only one patrol car available.

Detective Osborne said samples from Mrs Gotingco were sealed and placed in the boot, while samples from the accused were sealed and held in the front of the car.

She said everyone who inspected the body wore full body suits, gloves and booties to avoid contamination.

Photo of Blessie at funeral.

Photo: RNZ / Mani Dunlop

Earlier today, Detective Shane Page said blood was found in the back seat and boot of a car belonging to the accused.

Mr Page said he lifted out the back seat of the man's BMW and found part of the squab had been removed. The underside of the rest of squab appeared to have blood on it.

He also looked in the boot and found blood next to the jack.

As well, the he found damage to the bumper, which was held on by string, and one of the wing mirrors had been duct-taped on.

Under cross-examination, the accused asked a series of questions about the volume of the music and pointed out that he had no stereo equipment capable of making loud noises.

Jury told of broken BMW windscreen

A windscreen repairman told the jury yesterday that the accused said a friend had broken the windscreen of his BMW while playing around.

Mike Nelson said he went to the accused's home and was shown the BMW with a smashed windscreen.

He said he asked the accused how it happened.

"He said that him and his mates were being larrikins or mucking around in front of a couple of girls, showing off," he said.

"One of his mates had stood on the bonnet of the vehicle, slipped over and put his backside through the windscreen."

Mr Nelson said he also noticed damage to the roof of the car.

The trial continues.

Note: The accused has name suppression but Radio New Zealand is able to run an image of him.