12 Oct 2016

Cellphone records contradict Dunedin murder alibi

12:27 pm on 12 October 2016

Cellphone evidence suggests a Dunedin man accused of murder was not at home around the time of the killing, despite claiming he was, a witness has told a court.

Alexander Merritt is on trial at the High Court in Dunedin.

Alexander Merritt is on trial at the High Court in Dunedin. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

Cleaner Alexander Merritt, 21, is on trial at the High Court in Dunedin for the murder of his supervisor Karin Ross.

The Crown has alleged Ms Ross was killed early on 2 December.

But Mr Merritt denied any wrongdoing, saying he was at home all that night.

Today, the Crown produced logs of Mr Merritt's mobile phone, showing he used it for a 40-minute internet session, starting at 1.34 am on 2 December.

Crown witness Lawrence Watson, a Spark telecommunications technician, said tests he conducted showed the internet connection was made with mobile phone cell sites that did not connect with the defendant's home in Kaikorai Valley, on the other side of the hill.

Under cross-examination by defence, Mr Watson agreed he could not say who was using Mr Merritt's phone at the time.

He also confirmed the phone did not connect to the closest phone tower to the scene of the crime, in the Strathallan Street area that housed Mr Merritt's cleaning company offices.