9 Feb 2017

Murder victim was a professional hitman, witness tells court

7:47 am on 9 February 2017

A friend of a man accused of murder says he was told the victim was a professional hitman, whose kills included the cold case of Jane Furlong.

Lance Murphy

Murder victim Lance Murphy Photo: NZ Police

Michael Waipouri has denied charges of kidnapping and murdering Lance Murphy by beating him to death with a baseball bat and a tree branch on a remote hilltop north of Auckland in November 2015.

His co-accused Steve Gunbie is charged with kidnapping and being an accessory by helping to get rid of the body.

The pair are on trial at the High Court in Auckland.

Mr Waipouri's long-time friend, Eric Murphy yesterday told Mr Waipouri's lawyer David Niven that he and Mr Waipouri would often chop wood to make a bit of money and to heat Mr Waipouri's home.

Mr Niven asked how often he would go to Mr Waipouri's house.

Mr Murphy replied: "When I wanted someone to drink with, back then I was pretty thirsty. Maybe everyday."

He said he had spent the past 40 years in Waiuku - a rural township south of Auckland - and knew pretty much everyone, including Lance Murphy and Mr Waipouri.

Mr Murphy said just days before the Crown said the murder took place, he picked up Mr Waipouri and the pair went to a house belonging to a man known as Stretch and his partner Shelley.

Mr Murphy said Shelley called Lance Murphy a murderer.

After an objection by the Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes, the questioning continued, but only once Mr Niven gave an assurance that Shelley would be called as a witness.

He then asked Mr Murphy what Shelley said.

Mr Murphy responded: "That he [Lance Murphy] killed a few people... He obviously threatened her as well, with her life and she was scared and that's what she was telling me - that night prior to when we were there, she had been threatened by Lance."

Mr Murphy said Shelley went on to name names, including the cold case of Jane Furlong.

Mr Niven asked Mr Murphy what he knew of the Furlong case.

Mr Murphy responded: "That they found her out at Port Waikato. Sand dunes exposed the body of the lady."

He went on to say two other men went missing, including a man named Mad Wayne. He said they were also named as potential victims of Lance Murphy.

Eric Murphy said Lance Murphy's daughter, Chralle, had earlier told him her father was a professional hitman.

Mr Murphy was then further questioned by the Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes and asked why he hadn't told police about any of this.

"Yes, I had put that in there and I also told the cops that day that he had been [alleged] as a murderer and the names ..."

He said he was positive he had mentioned the names of Jane Furlong and Mad Wayne.

Mr Murphy said he signed his statement, despite the information not being included.

He said he had been high on methamphetamine at the time of signing the statement.

Mr Murphy said he was against methamphetamine but had been going through a rough patch at the time because his mother had been seriously ill.

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