Cottrell murder trial: Jury watches CCTV video

Last updated 16:28 04/12/2012
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.

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

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A jury has seen security camera footage of Wellington journalist Phillip Cottrell just before he was allegedly fatally attacked and seconds later the two men accused of his murder running away.

Cameras captured Phillip Cottrell as he walked down sloping Boulcott St away from Radio New Zealand House where he had just finished a night shift as bulletin editor on December 10 last year.

Police Detective Anna-lise Ferguson was today giving evidence in the High Court at Wellington about closed circuit television cameras in the area where Cottrell, 43, was found critically injured about 5.40am.

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 Cottrell, who died the day after the assault.

About 30 seconds after Cottrell was last seen on a 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 Kelly who stopped to help Cottrell lying in an area not covered by the cameras.

ACCUSED'S MOVEMENTS TRACKED ON CAMERAS

The jury spent the first part of today watching footage of Waipuka and Robinson who had come in to the city from the Hutt Valley the night they are accused of attacking Cottrell.

Footage showed Waipuka going to use a toilet at McDonald's near Basin Reserve after 1am, 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 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 re-entering Robinson's sister's apartment building where they stayed until about 9.30am before heading to the railway station.

The Crown alleges Waipuka tried to use one of Cottrell's bank cards at a station ATM before the pair returned to the Hutt Valley.

ASSAULT 'WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY SERIOUS'

Sue Hollows said her brother, Cottrell, had some bone fractures but led a fit and active life and had a passion for travel.

He would go overseas whenever he could, however Cottrell was to have visited his sister and her family in the South Island on December 12 last year.

Instead on December 10 he was attacked.

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.

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

Through his lawyer Waipuka has said he hit Cottrell once and took his wallet, but Robinson's lawyer says Robinson was across the road and not involved in the incident.

Cottrell's friend Andrew Bristol said he was very cool, calm and collected.

"He would not try to provoke anything, indeed he would try and run from that."

Bristol said Cottrell was not a big person and did not like conflict. He would have willingly given over whatever a person wanted.

The trial of Waipuka and Robinson is continuing.

- The Dominion Post

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