12 Jul 2016

Crown witness changes evidence in murder trial

2:35 pm on 12 July 2016

A key Crown witness who says she saw her cousin stabbed in the neck by a teenager armed with a broken bottle has changed her evidence.

Luke Tipene

Luke Tipene Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Vincent Angene Skeen, now aged 18, has denied murdering 16-year-old Luke Tipene in 2014, after a Halloween party spilled out onto Great North Rd where a fight broke out.

Nadene Manukau-Togiavalu is giving evidence at the High Court in Auckland today at the re-trial, where she told the court that she saw Mr Skeen swing the broken bottle multiple times and that her cousin Luke held up his hands.

However, Ms Manukau-Togiavalu told the court at Mr Skeen's first trial that she saw Mr Skeen swing once.

Under cross-examination from Mr Skeen's lawyer, Michele Wilkinson-Smith, Ms Manukau-Togiavalu was shown Facebook messages she posted after the first trial in which she said she had told the truth at that trial but had been harassed and threatened by members of her own family since.

But today she denied she was under pressure from her family.

Another witness, Christian Rauraa, told the High Court in Auckland he saw a fight between two teenagers outside the party.

Mr Rauraa said Mr Skeen ripped off Mr Tipene's shirt before Mr Tipene punched Mr Skeen and knocked him to the ground.

He said Mr Skeen got up and stabbed Mr Tipene in the throat.

Mr Rauraa said Mr Tipene was bleeding and ran away before everyone started screaming.

Tipene entered fight to 'help teen'

One of the teenagers involved in the fight said Mr Tipene stepped into the fight to help him.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named, told the court he had texted the victim on the night because he believed he was about to get into a fight.

He said Mr Tipene and his cousin Taine Tipene arrived to back him up.

The teenager said he was fighting with another teenager when another young man punched him in the side of the head.

Mr Tipene then punched the young man who interfered, he said.

He said he lost track of Mr Tipene after that but came across him a short time later and he was bleeding heavily from the neck.