Mentally ill woman 'taunted' by victim

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 15:43 01/07/2014

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A mentally ill woman was taunted for weeks by the woman she eventually bludgeoned to death, an inquest has heard.

Care worker Christine Christiansen told an inquest Christine Morris was so frustrated by taunts of her neighbour Diane Elizabeth White and White's partner that health agencies had begun seeking somewhere else for Morris to live.

Morris bludgeoned White, 53, to death with a hammer after scaling a fence at Waikato Hospital's mental health facility, Henry Bennett Centre, on January 19, 2010.

Morris is serving a life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years after being sentenced in 2012.

An inquest into White's death began in the High Court in Hamilton this week. It has focused on the care Morris received and the police response to the killing.

Taking the stand on day two, Christiansen said the relationship between Morris and White and her partner, Gary Chadderton - who lived across the road - had been unsettled for some time.

"They would walk past and point, it was like they were constantly taunting her," Christiansen said.

"We came to an idea that it would be good to move her and we weren't far from it ... Diane and Gary had alienated themselves from a lot of their neighbours around there."

During a meeting at HBC on the day of White's death, Morris had said she wanted to kill them both.

"Christine was emphatic that she wanted to kill Diane and Gary for the stress they had caused her over the past month."

Christiansen told a centre staff member, who has name suppression, that Morris needed to be admitted because "she's going to do it".

Christiansen said the staff member came across as "arrogant" and "quite pressing for [Morris] to be discharged during that meeting".

When questioned about the man's demeanour by Morris' lawyer, Anthony Rogers, Christiansen said it seemed he wasn't taking Morris seriously enough.

"He was almost joking about it [telling Morris] 'you can't say these things or I can't discharge you', is what he would say ... it was quite a mockery."

The HBC staff member then decided to take a break to get Morris a sedative .

However, as they stood up and approached the door, he asked Christiansen a question and "within seconds", Morris had gone, Christiansen said.

In questioning from Waikato DHB lawyer, Paul White, Christiansen accepted White and Chadderton could be described as Morris' "neighbours from hell".

Curtains had been put up in Morris' windows so she didn't have to see them as they walked past and shouted things at her, she said.

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Christiansen said earlier she had been the first to come across Morris at another property after she had murdered White.

"I said 'are you OK'? and she said 'I don't care if I go to jail' then she was placed in the car.

"I said 'what have you done to Diane', and [Morris] replied, 'I have killed her with a hammer, she is dead'.

"She had a blank look on her face," Christiansen said.

The inquest, before coroner Peter Ryan, continues.

- Waikato Times

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