Witness saw friend get stabbed in back

01:52, Jul 17 2014
William Peter Lewis
Teenager William Peter Lewis died in Oamaru on April 1, 2010.

Witnesses who were first to reach fatally stabbed teenager William Peter Lewis said they had heard yelling and screams coming from Exe St, Oamaru, on the night of April 1, 2010.

Daniel Ethan Smith, 20, of Oamaru, is on trial in the High Court in Timaru. He has denied murdering Lewis, 16, and is claiming self-defence.

Lewis was stabbed three times in the back and died at the scene.

On the second day of Smith's retrial today, those who went to Lewis' aid described what they saw.

Oamaru teacher Nicholas Withers said he was walking along Thames St just before 10pm and heard yelling coming from the Exe St area.

"It was a bizarre yell, so I took off up Exe St to see what was going on," Withers said.


He said he saw "a shirtless person lying on his front ... there was a heck of a lot of blood in the gutter".

Asked what the lighting was like by Crown prosecutor Ann-Marie McRae, Withers said it wasn't great but it wasn't bad.

Withers said he dialled 111. The call was made at 9.45pm.

The 111 operator asked him to perform CPR, which he did with the help of another witness, Kellie Paisley.

Paisley, of Oamaru, had also been walking along Thames St when she heard yelling. She had hurried towards the noise, she said.

Sonja Braxton, of Oamaru, who lived in Exe St at the time of the killing, said she and her husband had heard "aggressive" fighting talk outside on the street.

They had gone to a window to see if they could see anything but couldn't, she said.

About 10 seconds later they heard screams for help.

The couple ran out to their front fence, looked left and saw a body lying in the gutter about 15 metres down the road.

When questioned by defence about the lighting, Braxton said she couldn't recall what it was like, but she had been able to see what was happening.

The trial continues today.


Daniel Ethan Smith, of Oamaru, is claiming self-defence in pleading not guilty to a charge of murdering teenager William Peter Lewis in Oamaru on April 1, 2010.

Smith, now 20, has been charged with murdering 16-year-old Lewis, who was stabbed in the back three times during an altercation in Exe St, at about 9.45pm.

Smith is appearing in the High Court at Timaru before Justice Rachel Dunningham and a jury of six men and six women.

In his opening statement defence counsel Christopher Stevenson told the court Smith had acted in self-defence.

"Daniel came under attack and at that point he reacted. He reacted instinctively and in self-defence. He did not have murderous intent."

In her opening statement, Crown prosecutor Anne-Marie McRae said Lewis (who was better known as Will) died at the scene after being stabbed three times in the back with a 12cm hunting knife.

McRae said Smith had deliberately taken the risk of killing Lewis when he stabbed him.

McRae told the court the Crown will prove that Smith's actions on the night were "not justified and he was not acting in self-defence".

During the first day of the trial, four witnesses were called to testify. They included Oamaru senior constable Graeme McPherson, and Lewis's best friend at the time, Donovan Smith of Oamaru (no relation to the accused).

Timaru man Leon Gibson was also called and told the court that six months prior to the stabbing, the accused had told him he had slept with Lewis's ex-girlfriend Alexis Smith (also no relation to Daniel Smith).

Donovan Smith, now 20, but who was 16 at the time of the stabbing, said he was driving around with Lewis and Alexis Smith on the evening of April 1.

Donovan Smith told the court how his friend had "headed after" the accused after spotting him walking along Torridge St at about 9.45pm.

There had been an incident half an hour earlier in the Liquorland carpark, where Lewis had asked the accused if he wanted to fight over the rumour he had heard.

According to Donovan Smith, the accused told Lewis he didn't want to fight and just wanted to go home. Donovan Smith told the court his friend was "pretty angry".

The court then heard how Lewis approached the accused on Exe St.

Defence counsel Stevenson described how Lewis allegedly had the accused "shoved up against a hedge".

Donovan Smith described to the court how he had seen his friend take hold of the accused's hoodie before the accused produced a knife from under his clothing and in a "haymaker" action swung it at Lewis.

Donovan Smith said he saw Lewis step away before the accused stabbed him in the back.

He said the stabbing action lasted about five seconds. He then saw his friend run up the street while at the same time taking off his T-shirt. Lewis then collapsed.

Donovan Smith said he called out for help and a few people came from nearby houses.

Oamaru senior constable Graeme McPherson, who was first on the scene, said when he arrived he saw a young "very pale" man lying on the ground.

McPherson told the court after establishing there were "no signs of life", he administered CPR before other emergency services arrived.

The trial continues today.

The Timaru Herald