Accused 'aggressive' towards victim
Friends and family of a woman killed in her Richmond home have given evidence about her abusive relationship with the man accused of murdering her.
Sharyn Wilkinson-Foley felt threatened in her relationship with Warren Leslie Boulter, 56, and "wanted him out of her life", the High Court at Nelson heard.
Boulter's trial continued before Justice Ronald Young yesterday. He has denied murdering Ms Wilkinson-Foley, 39, his former partner, on May 10 last year.
The Crown contends that Boulter stabbed and/or beat Ms Wilkinson-Foley to death while he was at her house collecting possessions after a bitter breakup.
Defence lawyer Michael Hardy-Jones said Boulter was not the killer.
Ms Wilkinson-Foley's older sister Vicky Milligan, of Murchison, told the court yesterday her sister sent her a text message on May 10 last year, saying she had "split up" with Boulter, that it was her decision, and that it was "something [she] should have done a long time ago".
A later message from Ms Wilkinson-Foley said: "I'm fine with it, but he isn't."
Mrs Milligan replied: "Just make sure you give all his stuff back." There was no reply, and Mrs Milligan said she never heard from her sister again.
Under cross-examination by Mr Hardy-Jones, she accepted that Ms Wilkinson-Foley was prone to exaggeration.
The court also heard from Roland "Earl" Espie, of Stoke, who was a workmate of Ms Wilkinson-Foley and had started an intimate relationship with her in the weeks leading up to her death.
Mr Espie said he became "more than friends" with Ms Wilkinson-Foley in February 2012, and they trusted each other. They were both private people who chose to keep details of their relationship to themselves.
He said she told him about her previous relationship with Boulter - that he was "aggressive toward her" and would sometimes "give her the bash".
When Ms Wilkinson-Foley told him she planned to travel to Blenheim on May 7 to return Boulter's possessions, she was "anxious" and "wanted it done without drama", Mr Espie said.
He said he tried to convince her not to go, at least not alone.
Mr Espie said Ms Wilkinson-Foley also told him about $4000 Boulter had lent her, and asked him what she should do with it. He said he told her to bank it, not spend it, "in case things got bad".
Mr Espie told the court he stayed at Ms Wilkinson-Foley's Salisbury Rd home on May 9 last year.
She had arranged to meet Boulter at her home the next morning, so he could collect more personal items, including a necklace she had given him.
Mr Espie said he offered to stay and meet Boulter with her, but Ms Wilkinson-Foley said she did not want to put him or anyone else at risk, telling him: "I don't know what [Boulter] is capable of in that situation."
He said he texted her later that day to check that everything had gone OK, but was unconcerned when she did not reply, thinking she must be busy.
Later that night, as Mr Espie drove towards Salisbury Rd to check if Ms Wilkinson-Foley was home, he saw two police cars heading in the direction of her house "in a hurry".
"My heart dropped. I sort of knew then that something wasn't as normal as should be," he said, struggling to speak through tears.
Ms Wilkinson-Foley's friend and former housemate Thomas Alderson told the court that she sometimes spoke about her dysfunctional relationship with Boulter. She said he threatened her, put his hands around her neck, and had said words to the effect of "If I can't have you, no one else can".
When Boulter had an opportunity to move to Blenheim in March last year to take up work at Canterbury Meat Packers, Ms Wilkinson-Foley encouraged him to go, because she wanted to distance herself from him, Mr Alderson said.
Tracey Cave, a workmate of Ms Wilkinson-Foley's from Enza, said her friend had become concerned about Boulter since their relationship started in 2010, because he had started "following her around like a puppy dog".
She said Ms Wilkinson-Foley told her that Boulter sometimes hit her after drinking, and that she had twice seen her friend arrive at work with black eyes.
The forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Ms Wilkinson-Foley at the Nelson mortuary told the court that the cause of death was either stab wounds to her neck or blunt trauma to her head and face.
She said the sharp injuries were consistent with lacerations from a knife, which could have been the one found by police in Ms Wilkinson-Foley's sink, just metres from her body.
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