Journalist murder accused caught on cameras

02:52, Dec 04 2012
Phillip Cottrell murder accused
ACCUSED: Nicho Allan Waipuka, left, and Manuel Renera Robinson are on trial in the Wellington High Court for murdering journalist Phillip Cottrell.

A jury has been given glimpses of the action on the central Wellington street in the seconds in which Phillip Cottrell was allegedly fatally attacked.

Detective Anna-lise Ferguson was giving evidence in the High Court at Wellington today about closed circuit television cameras on Boulcott St in the area where Mr Cottrell, 43, was found critically injured at about 5.40am on December 10 last year.

Cameras captured Mr Cottrell as he walked down the sloping street away from Radio New Zealand house where he had just finished a night shift as bulletin editor.

Phillip Cottrell
MURDERED: Phillip Cottrell, the Radio NZ journalist who died after being beaten in Wellington's Boulcott St.

From the opposite direction came Nicho Allan Waipuka, 20, and Manuel Renera Robinson, 18, walking up the street. They have pleaded not guilty of murdering Mr Cottrell.

About 30 seconds after Mr Cottrell was last seen on a security camera Robinson was seen running on the opposite side of the street, followed by Waipuka.

Security cameras at an ANZ building on the intersection of Boulcott St and The Terrace caught the moment when Waipuka passed Tom Kelly's taxi shuttle van dropping a worker at the building.


It was Mr Kelly who stopped to help Mr Cottrell lying in an area not covered by the cameras.


The jury spent the first part of today seeing footage of Nicho Allan Waipuka, 20, and Manuel Renera Robinson, 18, who had come in to the city from the Hutt Valley the night they are accused of attacking Mr Cottrell, 43.

The pair have pleaded not guilty of murdering Mr Cottrell who died the day after the assault.

Evidence from security cameras in Boulcott St itself is to be presented separately, perhaps later today.

But the jury has already seen Waipuka going to use a toilet at McDonald’s near Basin Reserve after 1am on December 10, last year, and about half an hour later he and Robinson went into the lobby of a hotel on The Terrace.

Soon after they went to an apartment building on The Terrace where Robinson’s sister lived and they stayed there until about 4.45am.

After The Terrace they walked along Lambton Quay and Manners St.

The Crown then alleges they went up the hill to Boulcott St where Mr Cottrell was attacked.

The jury has heard he had brittle bones and suffered a head injury that was not survivable.

Waipuka and Robinson were later seen entering the apartment building on The Terrace where Robinson’s sister lived and they stayed until about 9.30am before heading to the Railway Station.

The Crown alleges Waipuka tried to use one of Mr Cottrell’s bank cards at an ATM at the station before the pair returned to the Hutt Valley with Waipuka getting off the train at Petone and Robinson getting off at Naenae.



In the High Court at Wellington today Sue Hollows said her brother, Phil Cottrell, had some bone fractures but he led a fit and active life and had a passion for travel.

He would go overseas whenever he could so that it was hard for them to meet.

However Mr Cottrell was to have visited her and her family in the South Island on December 12 last year.

Instead on December 10 he was attacked while walking home from his night shift as a bulletin editor at Radio New Zealand.

Sue Hollows’ evidence in court did not cover her journey to Wellington later that day and her brother’s death in hospital the following day after life support was turned off.

The jury has been told that his skull shattered into more than 20 pieces, he had multiple fractures in his neck and his arm was broken in two places.

Even with his brittle bones it would have been a very serious assault to have caused the injuries, the Crown has alleged.


The Dominion Post