Murder-accused tells court he saw demons come out of victim

6:48 am on 22 February 2017

A man on trial accused of bashing his friend to death says he saw a 10-headed demon come out of his friend's chest during a heated argument.

Lance Murphy

Lance Murphy Photo: NZ Police

Michael Waipouri has denied charges of kidnapping and murdering Lance Murphy by beating him to death with a baseball bat and a tree branch on a remote hilltop north of Auckland in November 2015.

His lawyers say he has a paranoid condition but acted in self defence when he killed Mr Murphy.

Mr Waipouri gave evidence in his own defence and told the High Court In Auckland that he had been close to Mr Murphy's wife Wendy, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014.

He said Mr Murphy complained to him on at least three occasions about caring for his wife.

He told the court he believed Mr Murphy killed Wendy with a fatal dose of morphine.

"I knew he'd done it. The mind thinks but the heart knows."

Mr Waipouri also said he suspected Mr Murphy had withheld medicine from his sick mother-in-law and caused her death.

It was at about this time, he said, that Mr Murphy threatened him by saying he would use him as a boat anchor.

Mr Waipouri also spoke of his spiritual beliefs and said Wendy's spirit came out of a photograph and spoke to him on one occasion.

"She said to me: 'Mike, don't do what you're going to do to him for me, but do it for what he had done to my mother'. I didn't even know I was going to do anything at that stage."

Mr Waipouri said he later confronted Mr Murphy about Wendy's death and rumours that Mr Murphy had cancer.

"And that's when these 10 dragon heads come out of his chest, the size of my fist, they vibrated out of his chest and dropped to the ground."

Soon after he paid a visit to a mutual friend, who has been referred to in court as Stretch, to tell him about what had happened.

But when he got to Stretch's place, Stretch and his partner Shelley told him Mr Murphy had also threatened them.

"And he says to Stretch, in no uncertain terms: 'You don't want to be f***ing with me. I'm a hitman, I've killed 10 f***ing people'. He named four of them. Tony Butcher was one and Wayne Henderson was another one."

He said it was at that point he knew that he had to get rid of Mr Murphy. He lured him up north with a promise of big money if he acted as a driver in a drug deal.

They stopped at the home of an associate, Steve Gunbie, just north of Warkworth.

While they were there, talk came round to wild pigs and Mr Murphy made a disparaging comment about Mr Waipouri's dog, Meg.

"So I got up, I went up and got a bat and cracked him. I whacked his elbow first and I said to him: 'You want to laugh at me?' and I just cracked him."

In the early hours of the following morning, Mr Waipouri put handcuffs on Mr Murphy, a bag over his head and bundled him into the boot of his car.

He said he was heading towards a mate's place in Parakai and stopped at a creek along the way to bless himself, describing himself as being in warrior-mode.

"I checked on Lance and he raised up in the back of the car and I hammered him, I hammered him with the bat, and... ah, maybe at least half a dozen times, maybe more."

The final act came when he stopped out of Puhoi, on an isolated hilltop.

He told his lawyer David Niven: "I killed him". He said he had to do it.

"As long as Lance Murphy was alive, I had to watch my back. It was only a matter of time before he was successful."

Later, Mr Waipouri began swearing as he was questioned under cross examination by crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes who was asking for the names of friends Mr Waipouri said he had met on the night.

The cross-examination continues today.

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