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Rage behind fatal bottle attack: Crown

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/07/2016
Luke TipeneĀ  © Facebook Luke TipeneĀ 

Rage and embarrassment prompted Vincent Skeen to thrust a broken bottle deep into a young rugby league player's neck, killing him, a court has heard.

Skeen, 18, is on trial in the High Court at Auckland accused of murdering 17-year-old Luke Tipene in Grey Lynn in the early hours of November 1, 2014.

Mr Tipene, a promising rugby league player, died from blood loss after a fight outside a Halloween party.

Closing the case for the prosecution on Friday, Brian Dickey said it didn't matter an unarmed Mr Tipene had knocked Skeen over twice after joining a fight between their friends.

"On level terms, Luke Tipene is a better fighter than Vincent Skeen. Sure. He's an athlete. So what?" he said.

"[Being knocked over] made Vincent Skeen angry. Really angry. Maybe really embarrassed."

Pathologist Paul Morrow had told the court - based on various cuts and wounds - it looked like Skeen had taken multiple swings at Mr Tipene with a beer bottle he smashed open, lodging one blow as deep as 12cm into the teen's throat, Mr Dickey said.

"Those actions and that wound speak for themselves and they speak to the intention of the man who created that weapon," he said.

"Would any of you in this court have thought a broken bottle with a protruding shard was not a lethal weapon?"

Skeen may not have gone into the fight planning to kill Mr Tipene, but it didn't mean it wasn't murder, Mr Dickey told the jury.

"Murder is often, most of the time, in the spur of the moment ... some of them regret it for reasons that relate to them, rather than the deceased," he said.

"He aimed for the throat. He literally went for the jugular."

Skeen's first words after the attack: "I've just stabbed that c**t" - were a declaration of "victory" not regret, Mr Dickey said.

Defence lawyer Lorraine Smith earlier told the court the death was a "terrible misfortune", not murder.

She said being knocked down by Mr Tipene had left Skeen dazed.

"He simply swung at a boy who was older, bigger and stronger and had knocked him down twice," she said.

The trial, the second after a jury was unable to reach a verdict last year, began on Monday.

The defence is expected to close its case on Friday.

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