12 Aug 2015

Morris 'rag-dolled' man before fatal blow, court told

8:08 pm on 12 August 2015

A teenager saw Connor Morris treating another man like a toy and throwing a man to the ground shortly before being fatally struck in the head, the court has been told.

Connor Morris

Connor Morris, who died just over a year ago. Photo: Facebook

Michael Murray is on trial in the High Court in Auckland, charged with the murder of Connor Morris, who died following a street fight in west Auckland just over a year ago.

Witness Bohdi Young said he saw Mr Morris standing over Michael Murray's little brother, Stanley.

He described Mr Morris as having a lot of muscle and looking like he could fight.

"Stan was basically getting rag-dolled - as if [Mr Morris] was a dog with a toy, just thrashing it around."

He said four or five men and a woman were standing around watching the beating, and he could see some of them were affiliated with the Head Hunters gang.

He said Michael Murray called out to Mr Morris to leave Stanley alone.

Mr Young said when Mr Morris responded by swearing at Mr Murray and carrying on with the beating, Mr Murray hit Mr Morris in the head with what looked like a big bit of driftwood.

The Crown said the driftwood was actually a two-handed sickle.

Initial lie admitted

Under cross-examination from Crown prosecutor David Johnstone, Mr Young confirmed he had initially lied to police but stuck to his story under questioning from Mr Johnstone.

He denied he was making up his story to justify what Mr Murray had done and said when Mr Morris was hit, the violence level went up from one to 20.

Mr Young said he himself was punched in the eye, which split.

But this differed from the first version of events he gave police, where he did not initially admit that he had seen Mr Murray hit Mr Morris, because he was fearful of what the Head Hunters would do to him, his partner and Mr Murray.

He said he only told police about what happened on the road after another witness told police that he'd been there.

Earlier, the court heard further evidence from Stanley Murray, who said after the incident he and his brother ran back to their house.

Once inside, Stanley Murray said his brother Michael told him that he thought he had just killed someone.

He also confirmed that he had initially not told police the truth about his brother being on the street.

Stanley Murray said he gave another statement because he didn't want to be caught out telling lies.

He said he was also scared for his life and the life of his brother.

The evidence in the trial has now finished and tomorrow the jurors are due to hear closing addresses from the Crown and the defence.

Justice Wylie is due to sum up the case on Friday before the jurors retire to consider their verdicts.

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