Woman breaks down giving murder trial evidence

A woman went to pieces as she told the Marcus Luke Tucker murder trial of the sound of her friend screaming for help during the fatal bashing in her bedroom.

The trial had to stop when she broke down in the witness box. “I don’t want to do this anymore,” she said.

“Drink some water and compose yourself,” said Justice Nicholas Davidson.

When she continued weeping, he said: “Someone help her, please.”

The registrar and court officials went to her aid and she was ushered out of the courtroom.

Justice Davidson told the courtroom on the second day of the murder trial of Peter John Carroll, 52: “We need to give Miss – time to compose herself.” He said he would resume the trial whenever she was ready.

Carroll denies murdering Tucker, but admits assaulting him. The defence is urging a manslaughter verdict. Today is the second day of the trial before Justice Nicholas Davidson and a jury in the High Court at Christchurch.

The woman told the court of a visit by Carroll, carrying a metal steering lock, after he had asked if Tucker was still at her house in Addington, on April 24, 2016. Tucker was asleep on her bed.

Carroll peered into her bedroom and then asked if she had rope. She didn’t, so he began cutting ties off an electric blanket in the cupboard. He then went into the bedroom.

The woman said: “All I heard after that was a lot of banging. I just sat there. I froze. I didn’t know what to do. I was in shock. I heard banging and Marcus screaming for help.” She then broke down in tears.

The trial resumed after about 20 minutes and she continued with her evidence.

She said she heard Marcus yelling for help. The bashing went on for five to seven minutes. Another resident came out of his bedroom, to find out what was happening. She told him not to come out because she was scared for his safety. “I said he was teaching him a lesson.”

Carroll came out of the bedroom asking for more ties, and was given a lavalava. He then walked out of her bedroom with what looked like her sheets, which appeared to be wrapped around a body. He put the bundle into the boot of his car. He left and said he would be back later. There was blood on the floor when she went into her bedroom.

Earlier, the woman has told of the moment when Marcus Luke Tucker sealed his own fate by introducing himself as “Ruckus” – the nickname of a man believed to have done a $10,000 drugs robbery.

The woman, who has name suppression, gave evidence of the meeting at the address where she lived in Addington which would eventually become of the scene of Tucker’s death.

The Crown alleges Tucker, 36, was beaten to death by Carroll because he had the same nickname as the man believed to have been involved in the robbery of a drug dealer at gunpoint the previous month. The Crown says Tucker was not involved in the drugs robbery and his killing was a case of mistaken identity.

The drugs robbery victim believed he knew one of the men, nicknamed “Ruckus”, and mentioned to Carroll and a friend that he wanted the man roughed up, or his “head taken off”, the Crown says.

The woman gave evidence of living at the address in Addington and told of other people who lived at or visited the address. She said she was using small amounts of methamphetamine five to ten times a week.

She knew Tucker, and she met Carroll when he visited the address. She had sex with Carroll but they were not in a relationship.

She told of Tucker doing a deal to buy $5000 in “Rutherfords” – fake $100 notes. They were printed two on an A4 sheet of paper, and they had to be cut up. The clear panels on legitimate notes appeared as black on the paper copies.

She told of a visit by Carroll’s friend to pick up money she owed for drugs. There were three people there. She introduced two of them, and then Tucker stood up and introduced himself as “Ruckus”.

The friend became agitated and walked out of the room. He left straight away. The woman told the trial: “I knew there was something wrong but I didn’t know what it was.”

There was a later visit by Carroll, to pick up the money. He also left quickly, as though he was “on a mission”, she said.

On April 24, Carroll contacted her to ask if Tucker was still there because he wanted to talk to him. Tucker was asleep on her bed. Carroll then arrived in his car, and came into the house carrying the steering lock.

In cross-examination by defence counsel Tim Fournier, she admitted she had used the drugs that had been obtained using the fake money.

But she denied an allegation that will be made by Carroll when he gives evidence, that she had tried to pay him for $1800 in drugs with $300 in real notes and the rest in forged bills.

Mr Fournier said, “You’re not an honest person, are you?”

“I am today,” the woman replied.

Another woman told of being good friends with Marcus Tucker and meeting him a few days before his death, at a motel in Riccarton Road. She named five people who were involved in copying $100 notes. She said Tucker had $4000 of the forged notes. She was helping him.

They were using them to swap for real money or scamming people by using them on unsuspecting drug dealers. They were using the dodgy money to “get high” and she had been up taking methamphetamine – without sleeping – for seven days. She said flare-ups and aggressive behaviour were common in the drug-taking community.

The trial is continuing.

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