Accused's ex- girlfriend breaks down in court

Last updated 09:16 21/07/2014

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The best friend and former girlfriend of murder accused Daniel Ethan Smith broke down in court while reading out a text in which Smith had asked her for permission to fight "just this once".

In the High Court at Timaru on Thursday, Ashley Collins, 19, of Blenheim, read a series of text messages between her and Smith on the evening that William Peter Lewis was killed in Exe St, Oamaru.

Smith, 20, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Lewis who died on April 1, 2010, after being stabbed three times in the back with a 12-centimetre hunting knife.

Defence lawyer Christopher Stevenson has told the court that Smith acted in self-defence.

On the second day of the High Court retrial, evidence was given by those who were first on the scene.

Lewis's ex-girlfriend, Alexis Smith (no relation to the accused), and the accused's girlfriend at the time of the murder, Ashley Collins, also gave evidence.

An emotional Collins read out text messages from Smith, one of which revealed he was being chased.

He texted Collins saying he did not want to fight but then, in another text, asked her permission to fight - to which she replied "OK, but don't get hurt please".

After the altercation with Lewis, Smith sent a text to Collins saying he was scared he had hurt someone. When she asked "how bad?" He had replied "bad".

He later sent a text to say he had "stabbed someone" and later texted Collins to say "he's dead".

The text messages between the two continued over the next couple of hours.

During the correspondence Collins told Smith she was sorry. She texted: "This is my fault, I am so sorry . . . because I said you could fight . . . if I said no this wouldn't have happened."

When questioned by Stevenson, Alexis Smith admitted that on the night of April 1, Lewis became angry over a rumour that the accused had slept with her.

Stevenson asked Alexis Smith if she had told the police in an earlier statement that "Lewis was hyped up that night and wanted to have it out with" the accused, to which Alexis Smith replied "yep".

The court was also told Smith and another man went to visit Adam Caldwell earlier on the night of April 1. Caldwell said he didn't know Smith. He sold the other man $50 of cannabis.

He said the next time he saw Smith was when he knocked on his door about 10pm asking for help.

"He said he had been jumped."

Two days later, Caldwell found a knife under a bush in his front yard.

When questioned by defence lawyer, Caldwell admitted Smith was "shaking all over". "He looked like he'd been hit by a bus."

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Detective Warren Duncan, of Oamaru, went to Smith's home at 11.55pm. He told the court Smith denied being out and said he was home all night.

- The Marlborough Express

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