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Murder-accused talked readily to police

16:11 Thu Dec 13 2012
Murder accused Manuel Robinson told police he saw his friend Nicho Waipuka deliver the punch that killed a journalist in central Wellington.
Murder accused Manuel Robinson told police he saw his friend Nicho Waipuka deliver the punch that killed a journalist in central Wellington.

Murder-accused Manuel Robinson told police days after the fatal bashing of journalist Phillip Cottrell that his friend and fellow murder-accused Nicho Waipuka was the culprit, but also left out a lot of detail.

Robinson, 18, and Waipuka, 20, both deny murdering Mr Cottrell, who was walking home from an overnight shift on the morning of December 10 last year. He was found lying in central Wellington's Boulcott Street and died from his head injuries the next day.

In the High Court at Wellington on Thursday, the ninth day of the trial, the jury was shown a video of Robinson's interview with Constable Jana Peterson.

Robinson declined the opportunity to talk to a lawyer and readily gave his account of the attack.

"I just want to tell the truth. Get it over and done with. It was that guy Nicho..."

He said Waipuka had punched Mr Cottrell, knocked him out and taken his wallet, which had credit cards and $80 in it. He may also have kicked him.

Timing has been an issue in the case, and Robinson said Mr Cottrell was "power walking" down the street - which may have put him at the scene earlier.

Robinson said he knew what Waipuka was planning to do and wanted nothing to do with it, so he crossed to the other side of the street beforehand.

Earlier in the evening Waipuka had been "talking about smacking someone over, just hitting them for the fun of it".

Robinson said he tried to talk Waipuka out of it.

"You don't want to get into shit, bro'. My mum brought me up to be a better person than that."

However, despite claiming to have told Const Peterson all he remembered, he failed to mention his and Waipuka's visit to an apartment nearby on the Terrace after the attack.

He also claimed not to know a girl at the apartment - Melissa Rutene, who the court earlier heard Robinson was keen on.

Robinson also claimed he was wearing white shoes at the time, but video footage shows them to be black.

Police later charged both men with murder.

The trial is expected to conclude next week.

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