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No one disputes accused is a killer: Crown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/02/2017 Ben Leahy

Lance Murphy © Counties Manakau Police Lance Murphy No one, not even the accused, Michael Joseph Davies, disputes he used a baseball bat and tree branch to cave in the skull and brutally kill his long time friend on a remote hilltop, the Crown says.

Fifty-two-year-old Davies, also known as Michael Waipouri, is standing trial accused of kidnapping his friend of 30 years, Lance John Murphy, before bashing him to death in Puhoi, 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.

Prosecutor Gareth Kayes summed up his case in the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday, saying it was known Mr Murphy was handcuffed, hooded and lying at Davies' feet at the time of the killing on November 22, 2015.

"He beat him first with a bat and when that wasn't sufficient for his purposes, he picked up a tree branch and used that," he said.

Davies not only repeatedly confessed to the killing in court but told police that after caving Mr Murphy's skull in, he saw "all the life leave him", Mr Kayes said.

Davies told police he was a skilled axeman who after hitting Mr Murphy with a baseball bat selected a heavy branch and snapped off its rotten parts before "putting [Mr Murphy] out" with it.

"I strike hard and I strike for keeps", Mr Kayes said Davies told police.

Mr Kayes also urged the jury to follow Judge Anne Hinton's instructions when she said at the start of Tuesday's session that they should not consider self defence a valid argument for Davies' actions.

"That means there will be no issue for you to decide in relation to self defence," she said.

Davies' lawyer, John Munro, had earlier in the trial told the jury everything his client had done had been motivated by self-defence.

Mr Kayes said that while Davies had given testimony of seeing demons flying out of Mr Murphy's chest, he had not been diagnosed as insane by a medical expert and had not pleaded guilty by insanity.

He also said the real explanation of why Davies killed Mr Murphy may never come out.

Davies had given reasons including that Mr Murphy was a hitman with 10 kills who had threatened him and that he feared for his children.

"If you spent time trying to reconcile all of the reasons Mr Waipouri has given, you are never going to get to the truth of it," Mr Kayes said.

He said instead the Crown does not have to prove motive for the killing and suggested the jury not go into great detail to examine it.

The trial continues.

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