Knife attack almost severed woman’s head

A woman’s head was almost severed in the knife attack that followed her strangulation by a man who lay in wait for her at her Merivale home.

Nicole Marie Tuxford, 27, was found dead at her home in Exeter Street, Merivale, on April 7, and a 55-year-old man has today admitted murdering her.

The man had wanted a relationship with Miss Tuxford, who he had known for a year, but she had set up in business as a life coach and she only wanted to help him.

The High Court in Christchurch was told today that after learning that she was in a relationship, the man said he felt like he had been “kicked in the guts”. He stalked her to her home, laid in wait, and then bound and murdered her.

The man’s interim name suppression continues.

Justice Cameron Mander remanded him in custody for sentencing on December 13. He asked for a pre-sentence report, and a victim impact statement.

The man admitted charges of murdering Miss Tuxford, unlawfully taking her car, and driving with excess breath-alcohol on the night before the murder.

Crown prosecutor Pip Currie said Miss Tuxford had lived alone in her house in Exeter Street.

She met the man professionally and they were in a group that socialised. He had been to her address several times, and she told her mother she was “helping him out” and felt sorry for him.

She said she was meeting him for coffee and trying to help him.

Early this year, the man said he wanted a sexual relationship. Miss Tuxford’s own life coach suggested that she pull away and reduce contact. She left her job and began her own life coaching business.

The pair exchanged texts and had another meeting, but the man said that when he found she was in a relationship with another man he felt he had been lied to.

He said workmates were “having him on” and he was worried he might do something crazy. He texted her, taking issue with the relationship she had.

On the night of April 6, she spent the night at her partner’s address across town, after arranging for an electrician to call at her property the next morning.

The man texted her that evening but she did not reply. He tried phoning, but she did not answer – she was on the phone to her mother.

The man spent hours that evening drinking in a bar and was then caught drink-driving at a checkpoint in Bealey Avenue. His level was 614mcg to a litre of breath. After being processed, he took a taxi to near her address.

He lay in wait there for Miss Tuxford for eight hours before she returned to her home at 7.40am. He confronted her when she went inside, and neighbours heard screaming. The man overpowered her and confronted her about the relationship.

He restrained her in the spare bedroom, with the curtains and doors shut when the electrician arrived and could not raise anyone.

Miss Tuxford received defensive cuts to her hands and managed to bite the man. He punched her in the face. He tied a scarf around her mouth and knotted it behind her head, and secured it in her mouth with insulation tape, which he also used to bind her wrists.

The electrician heard sounds that would have been her trying to fight off the man and call for help.

He checked a junction box, and then left.

The man then strangled Miss Tuxford, breaking her thyroid, and cut her throat multiple times, almost severing her head from her body, Mrs Currie told the court.

He then cut away the tape and removed the scarf, and placed her arms across her body.

He left the house wearing one of Miss Tuxford’s hats and drove away in her car. Near London Street, in Richmond, he had a medical event and crashed the car into a wall, causing minor damage. He was taken to hospital unresponsive.

The electrician was concerned about what he had heard and went back to the address where he got though a window and found Miss Tuxford dead.

The police linked the man to the crime. Interviewed in hospital, he admitted going to the address, waiting for her, and cutting her throat.