"I didn't hate them it was just a bit of fun really,'' Ewen Macdonald told his wife when she confronted him over arson and graffiti at the Guy property.
Macdonald has pleaded not guilty to shooting his brother-in-law Scott Guy twice in the throat in the pre-dawn darkness on his driveway on July 8, 2010. He is on trial for murder at the High Court in Wellington.
The Crown alleges Macdonald murdered Guy against a backdrop of tension over the future of both men at the Feilding farm they worked on.
The court today heard family conversation the night after Scott Guy's shooting was about whether missing puppies were a clue in his murder.
The Crown theory has been that Macdonald killed the three chocolate labrador puppies to throw police off the trail and make it look like a burglary gone wrong.
This afternoon, Macdonald's wife Anna told the court she had a lot of questions after her husband's arrest.
She said she asked him how he could hate someone like that.
"I didn't hate them it was just a bit of fun really,'' he told her.
Anna Macdonald was unable to remember if her husband had left the house the night the old home on the Guy farm was set alight.
She also said she did not see any difference in her husband after the fire and did not recall anything disturbing their sleep that night or hearing fire engines.
Anna Macdonald said someone rang and told her the next morning, "either dad or Scott''. She and Ewen Macdonald later drove up to have a look at the damage.
While he originally denied the acts of vandalism, Ewen Macdonald later admitted to police he and Callum Boe set the house alight because it would be "fun".
Malcolm McKinnon used to own the property, which had been a family farm. It had been leased by the Guy family, who bought it in June 2008.
NO INITIAL LEADS ON ARSON
The jury heard Kylee Guy's statement about the arson of the old house.
She said she and Scott Guy had bought land and the old homestead at the old McKinnon block and looked at doing up the house and moving in.
However the job was too big and expensive and they decided to build.
They had sold the house to a developer for $8000 and got a deposit.
She was in Hawke's Bay when Scott Guy rang and told her the old house had caught fire.
She said she was devastated and knew her husband was upset.
The fire delayed the building of the new home.
At the time of the fire, police had no positive leads, a detective told the jury.
Detective Felicity Mansell was called out to the arson the morning after it happened.
The Fire Service had been called just before midnight.
She said there were a number of people there, including Scott Guy.
She began an arson investigation to find where the fire had been started, however because of the extensive damage there was little in the way of evidence.
One of the people Mansell spoke to was Anna Macdonald. Ewen Macdonald came in while they were talking but she did not speak to him.
When asked by Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk if anything had come of the investigation she said "none whatsoever''.
Scott Guy was interviewed by police but Mansell said it all came to nothing.
Later Ewen Macdonald had pointed at a bunch of kids that lived nearby.
ACCUSED 'ANIMATED' OVER MISSING PUPS
Scott Guy's family were asked not to tell anyone the puppies were missing so that police could use the information in questioning suspects.
Guy's sister, Nikki Guy, was at Ewen Macdonald's home on the night of the killing and spent July 9 there.
She told the court Macdonald had said he would go up to feed the puppies. When he came back he was "animated" because the police did not know some puppies were missing and he had told them.
She said they did not want to tell Kylee Guy as no-one wanted to upset her further.
The conversation then revolved around who would have taken the puppies and whether it was a clue in the murder.
On the afternoon of the killing, scene co-ordinator Detective Sergeant Gary Milligan spoke to Ewen Macdonald, who was on a quad bike. Macdonald said he wanted to feed the stock in the outlying paddocks and was told he could do that as long as he approached from the rear.
Milligan later spoke to Anna Macdonald and advised her someone could feed the puppies in the shed as long as they liaised with the scene guard.
On July 9, he got a phone call from Ewen Macdonald who said there were only four pups there and there were supposed to be seven.
Scott Guy's father Bryan told the court the puppies were housed in an old cowshed at his son's home. They were shifted to the shed while Ewen Macdonald and Scott Guy were at a conference together in Invercargill.
The cowshed was puppy-proofed, Bryan Guy told the court.
He said he thought he heard that some of the puppies were missing within two or three days of his son's killing.
Police asked the family not to mention that to media.
"My understanding was that it was information they could use while questioning people."
Bryan Guy said he remembered talking to Ewen Macdonald about feeding the puppies.
District co-ordinator of police scene guards Brian Reynolds was working at the Guy's home on July 9. He was told Ewen Macdonald was coming to feed the puppies.
Reynolds said he showed him how to get to the cowshed and as the pair walked back to the car Ewen Macdonald made a comment that they were three pups short.
Reynolds then reported it to a police officer.
Joanne Moss, a friend of Kylee Guy, said she had seen the litter two days before Scott Guy's death when she went to pick up one of the female puppies.
About 7am on the day of the shooting, Kylee Guy rang her.
"You have to come because Scotty has been killed."
Moss told the court she spoke to Ewen Macdonald on the side of the road at the police cordon that morning, and asked him if Scott Guy was dead.
"He said 'yes, he's dead'."
Detective Glen Jackson said he was made aware there were puppies in the shed on July 9.
He said he went to view them.
"There were the bitch and four pups," he said.
Wavy-soled footprints were found in the area. Other footprints, not matching the wavy sole, were also found.
Jackson said it looked like the person wearing the wavy-soled shoes had climbed over the fence and headed back to Aorangi Rd.
Kylee Guy had been given the chocolate labrador Katie by Scott Guy just before they got engaged.
She told the jury they decided to let her have a litter.
"We were going to sell them and give one away, like the one to Jo Moss," she said. The couple made up flyers to sell the puppies, offering them for $700.
She said they put the flyers up in Feilding farm supply stores, a vet club and The Warehouse staff room. One flyer was put up in Ewen Macdonald's father's store, Hunting and Fishing, on July 7. They got no calls about the puppies.
Kylee Guy said it was a few days after her husband's death that she was told the puppies were missing.
"I was shocked," she said.
She remembered the police had told them to keep quiet about the puppies being gone, but said it got out.
PUPPIES NEVER FOUND
The three missing puppies were never found, the jury was told.
Officer in charge of the general investigation into Scott Guy's death, Detective Sergeant Graham Perks, said they eventually put out a media release about the puppies on July 21.
He said they received a vast amount of information about dogs from all over the country. They received sightings but none turned out to be the missing puppies.
Perks told the court police tracked down a woman seen selling puppies outside the Warehouse in Palmerston North on the same day as the media release, but they turned out to be cross breeds.
Perks said there were searches also done for sites where the puppies might be buried.
Deer farmer Craig Hocken noticed two missing trophy stags from his property in December 2006.
The Crown has told the jury Boe and Ewen Macdonald took the stags. Yesterday, in the screening of a police interview with the accused, he said they did it as a challenge.
Hocken breeds trophy stags for safari parks on a farm just out of Feilding.
He said he saw on December 31 that two stags were taken out of the 14 that were there. He noticed flattened grass in the paddock and marks that looked like someone had done a u-turn in the paddock.
He said it did not look like stock truck tracks, more like a trailer. After the discovery he rang police.
- The Dominion Post