'Don't do anything stupid,' brother warned

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 12:16 12/09/2012
Tuaine Bevan
MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ
ACCUSED: Tuaine Bevan.

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The day he shot his girlfriend in the head, a man on trial for murder said he was in the mood for destruction.

Tuaine Llewellyn Bevan, 28, of Otaki Beach, made the comment to his brother Hohepa Manning about noon on May 8, last year.

Bevan also said he wanted a new girlfriend and Manning told him not to do anything stupid.

Four hours later Bevan mortally wounded his 23-year-old partner Stacey Lake, and is now on trial in the High Court at Palmerston North accused of her murder.

The Crown says Bevan shot Lake at close range because of a domestic dispute, but the defence says the shooting was an accident - that Bevan had removed the gun's magazine and didn't realise it could be fired.

When Manning visited the Ngaio St home Bevan shared with Lake, Bevan emerged outside and the pair talked.

Manning noticed his brother had scratches on his cheeks and grazed knuckles.

Bevan said he was having a domestic dispute with Lake.

"He said she was inside crying like a bitch," Manning said yesterday.

"He wanted someone else . . . He said he wanted to give [Lake] a smash. I just told him don't do anything stupid.

"He said he was in the mood for destruction."

Manning tried to steer the conversation away from the domestic dispute and the pair discussed a party he went to the night before.

Lake then walked outside and asked Manning to move his car so she could drive off, but Bevan told her to walk.

"He called her a bitch and said you're not f . . . ing using my car."

Lake went back inside and Bevan told his brother he was moving out.

Manning agreed with defence lawyer Christopher Stevenson that he didn't take Bevan seriously when he mouthed off about Lake as he would often "talk s . . ."

The Crown says that on the afternoon of the shooting, Bevan rode his motorbike to the family farm to collect the gun, a sawn-off .22 rifle with a modified pistol grip.

Another of Bevan's brothers, Henare Manning, said he saw Bevan ride up the driveway to the property, then ride away with a backpack.

He didn't appear to be travelling unusually fast.

Also living at the property was Bevan's cousin Te Whaiao Manga, who gave Bevan the bag.

Henare Manning also said that in one set of school holidays last year he visited Bevan's Ngaio St house and had seen him with a gun. "I asked him what he was doing with the gun. He said he would stash it at the farm."

One of Lake's friends, Erina Moeahu, told Justice Jillian Mallon and the jury that, two days before she died, Lake said she had been hit by Bevan.

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At first Lake wore a pair of sunglasses. "I think she felt silly wearing them as it wasn't a bright day," Moeahu said.

Lake removed them, revealing her bruising.

"She said that Tuaine hit her. She said that it happened the night before."

The trial continues.

- Manawatu Standard

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