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Murder accused's claims nonsense: Crown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/02/2017

The man charged with murdering Lance Murphy created nonsensical allegations his victim was a hitman who killed his own wife, the Crown says.

Michael Joseph Davies, 52, is standing trial accused of kidnapping long-time friend of 30 years, Mr Murphy, before bashing him to death with a bat and branch on a Puhoi hilltop, north of Auckland, in November 2015.

Davies' co-accused, 38-year-old Steve Gunbie, is charged with helping in the kidnapping and with hiding the body.

In the High Court at Auckland on Wednesday, prosecutor Gareth Kayes asked Davies, also known as Michael Waipouri, if he truly believed Mr Murphy had murdered his wife Wendy after she fell sick with cancer.

While other witnesses claimed Mr Murphy and his wife were a devoted couple, Davies earlier told the court he came to increasingly believe Mr Murphy had killed Wendy.

He said Mr Murphy gave her a lethal dose of medication because he was frustrated at the cost of caring for her, before later also playing a part in her ill mother's death by withholding medication.

Davies said that when Mr Murphy discovered he suspected him of the murders, Mr Murphy repeatedly threatened him over six months.

However, Mr Kayes said medical professionals had said there was nothing suspicious about Mrs Murphy's death.

"I suggest that while her death was tragic that it was hardly unexpected wasn't it?" Kayes asked.

"He killed her," Davies answered repeatedly.

Mr Kayes said Davies' accusations were nonsense.

He also contested Davies' earlier claim that Mr Murphy had boasted he was a hitman who had killed 10 people, including a work colleague from a steel factory called Jim Donnelly, who went missing in 2004.

"Lance told me he had thrown that man into the [factory's blast] furnace," Davies said on Tuesday.

But Mr Kayes asked why, if Davies was scared of Mr Murphy, he allowed him to continue dropping his children to school.

"You are letting your kids go to school with a serial killer?"

Davies also earlier told the court he believed Mr Murphy was possessed by 10 demon heads, representing every person he had killed and that the spirit of Wendy Murphy wished him to take revenge.

Fearful, he decided he must act first against Mr Murphy.

"I realised I had a loose cannon out on the street with a dark hate for me and the element of surprise on me," Davies said.

He invited Mr Murphy to help him pick up a large delivery of drugs and admitted he bashed him with a bat and his fists, before restraining him in handcuffs and driving him to a hilltop where he "caved his head in".

The trial continues.

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