13 Nov 2015

Murder-accused suggests wife was suicidal

5:45 pm on 13 November 2015

A Wellington jury has today watched a video interview in which a man accused of murdering his estranged wife told the police she had been suicidal.

Michael Preston

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Michael Preston is before the High Court in Wellington accused of murdering Mei Fan in November 2013.

He was arrested on 10 November 2013, the day Ms Fan's body was found in her Miramar home, and charged with breaching a Protection Order and the video interview played in court was one of several made after his arrest.

A detective asked Mr Preston why he thought Mei Fan had killed herself and he replied he had called the police once before asking them to make sure she was all right, because she had been suicidal.

He said Ms Fan was sometimes distraught and often spoke of suicide.

Mr Preston said when the police came to his door he nearly asked had she had a car accident, but when officers told him there had been an incident at her home, he thought "it can't be a car accident, don't tell me she's f-ing topped herself."

In the interview, he denied responsibility for Mei Fan's death saying he could not hurt anybody as he was not that sort of person.

"I don't slap my children. I've seen too much. My father used to beat the crap out of me and I swore I'd never do that to my children."

His five children could vouch for that, he said.

"I send children to bed. I don't smack them. I don't beat them and I never beat my wife once, so no, I wasn't responsible for her death."

Mr Preston said his older children liked to watch horror programmes with freaks and ghouls and they laughed at him because he couldn't watch them.

"I don't have the stomach for these things, killing anybody, let alone my wife, no."

Accused found proof of affair on computer

Michael Preston found out Mei Fan was having an affair when he found photos on her computer of her with another man.

A police interview with Mr Preston, where he spoke about discovering her affair, was shown to the jury today.

In the interview, filmed after his arrest that month, Mr Preston said that a couple of years previously when his wife came back from China, they were having sex and she stopped and told him she had to tell him a secret.

He said he asked her, "Can't it wait?" and she said, "No, I've got a boyfriend" and that she had been seeing him for three months.

Mr Preston said it was "coitus interruptus of the worst kind".

It was the second time his wife had had an affair and she told him she didn't want to leave the boyfriend, but she also didn't want to leave him, he said.

His wife wouldn't make a decision so he told her by the time she came home her bags would be packed and outside the door, Mr Preston said.

When he began packing his wife's things, his daughter asked what he was doing, and he told her he was "packing mummy's bags because mummy's got a new boyfriend and doesn't love daddy anymore, so it's time to leave".

He said his daughter asked if she could help and she did and they took the bags to Ms Fan's workplace.

Mr Preston told the detective in the interview that in the middle of 2012 his wife told him she was going to China to visit her father, who had had a stroke.

Ms Fan took lots of photos and he took fewer, but they would copy the photos to each other's computer drives, so he had the password to her computer, he said.

Photos on her computer showed she had only been in China for about 10 days, and the rest of her months away had been spent with her Finnish boyfriend in Vietnam.

He said in an affidavit for the Family Court that Ms Fan swore black and blue she hadn't gone to Vietnam on that trip.

Mr Preston said she also denied meeting the Finnish man more than two or three times and later in her affidavit she said, "we're no longer boyfriend and girlfriend".

He said when his wife returned from China it was "like groundhog day".

Mr Preston said Ms Fan wouldn't have sex, and he asked her what was the matter, because "sex is an important part of any relationship", and he wanted to know why she wouldn't do it with him.

He logged onto her computer and found a 36-page chat history between her and her boyfriend, and finally the penny dropped, he said.

Mr Preston said Ms Fan's boyfriend was jealous and didn't want her to have sex with her husband, and she promised she wouldn't.

He told the police officer interviewing him that Ms Fan's boyfriend was as "in lust with her" as he had been.

"When someone rings your bells like that, you don't want it to stop and this boy Tani's the same," Mr Preston said. "He'll find out what she's like. It won't take long."