20 Nov 2015

Killing of Mei Fan was 'personal', Crown says

7:35 pm on 20 November 2015

A jury has been told the killing of Wellington woman Mei Fan was "very personal" as her killer's final strikes were two thrusts of a knife through her neck and face.

On Friday lawyers for both sides gave their closing addresses at the trial of Ms Fan's former husband Michael Preston, who is before the High Court in Wellington charged with her murder in 2013.

Crown Prosecutor Grant Burston addressed some of the theories Mr Preston suggested to police regarding his ex-wife's death, which suggested a boyfriend, a contract killer employed by her uncle or a burglar may have been responsible for her death.

Mei Fan.

Mei Fan. Photo: NZ POLICE

Those theories were implausible, Mr Burston said.

The jury was asked why a professional hitman would wear kitchen gloves during the attack and stab Ms Fan with an old carving knife.

"Is he going to stab in this personal way - 15 wounds through the neck? Why would the professional hitman bother ransacking drawers in the house? Would he bother looking around the rest of the house at all?"

He suggested the pictures of the house showed a scene staged to look like a burglary.

Crown prosecutor, Grant Burston.

Crown Prosecutor Grant Burston Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Ms Fan had told people she was worried that Mr Preston would kill her, at one stage using a Mandarin word meaning "I'm scared, I'm really, really scared", Mr Burston said.

In May 2013 Mr Preston had told Ms Fan that she had "put him in hell".

Michael Preston.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Pressure was building on him in the days ahead of Ms Fan's death, culminating in him being served with a protection order the night before she was killed, Mr Burston said.

Mr Preston was bitterly angry that his ex-wife had chosen another man, not him and wrongly believed the protection order she had obtained would stop him seeing their children.

He took control back by brutally stabbing his wife to death, Mr Burston said.

Defence delivers its closing address

The defence told the jury much of the Crown's case was based on speculation, which had no place in a courtroom.

Defence lawyer Louise Sziranyi told the court the police officer who served a temporary protection order on Mr Preston the night before Ms Fan's death said he couldn't have been more relaxed and he had no concerns.

CCTV evidence and a pay and display parking ticket proved he was in town at the time of the killing, as he had spent the morning of November 8, 2013 visiting his lawyer to discuss the protection order.

She asked the jury whether Mr Preston's body language as shown on CCTV, where he was walking down the street drinking a cup of take out coffee, looked like that of a man who had just brutally murdered his wife.

Regarding the claim that Ms Fan was frightened of her ex-husband, Ms Sziranyi said the couple's Family Court file showed Ms Fan never made a complaint about knife incidents in China or Mr Preston threatening to kill her.

When a relationship breaks up people can behave unpleasantly towards each other but the jury must not jump to the conclusion that because Mr Preston was Ms Fan's former partner he must have killed her, she said.

Justice Williams will give his summary on the case on Monday.

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