19 Feb 2020

Woman struck at least 12 times by son, jury hears

4:18 pm on 19 February 2020

The jury in the trial of a West Auckland man accused of murdering his mother has heard she died of blunt force trauma.

Martin Marinovich is on trial at the High Court at Auckland.

Martin Marinovich is on trial at the High Court at Auckland. Photo: RNZ

Martin Marinovich accepts strangling his mother Noeleen and then attacking her with a hammer in their Oratia home on 7 February 2019.

The 28-year-old called police afterwards and told them he'd snapped after an argument and strangled her before hitting her head.

The jury in his High Court murder trial in Auckand has heard she had unsurvivable head injuries and was struck at least 12 times.

But Mr Marinovich has pleaded not guilty to murder; his defence lawyer Shane Tait asking the jury to consider what was on his client's mind at the time.

Yesterday, the court heard the defendant was his mother's sole carer and ran the house towards the end of her life as she became more unwell.

Ms Marinovich, 59, lived with bipolar disorder and collapsed as she grew older; spending a short stay in hospital after a fall a week before she died.

The jury was today shown graphic photographs of her body, categorising her injuries, during a post mortem examination.

Forensic pathologist Dr Charles Glenn said while there was evidence of strangulation, Ms Marinovich's cause of death was blunt force trauma.

"The cause of death in my opinion is blunt injuries of the head and that's based on non-survivable injuries to the head that appear to be around the time of death.

"We do know there's been pressure applied to the neck. It is possible that expains the death but I think it's more likely that it's from the impacts to the head.

Dr Glenn said lacerations to her head were circular-shaped and consistant with blows from a round object, like the hammer the jury has heard was found next to the body.

Ms Marinovich had bruises to her hand and forearms that was consistant with defensive injuries.

Mr Marinovich's lawyer Mark Ryan queried the results of a toxicology report that found Ms Marinovich had normal levels of her bipolor medication in her blood.

He asked the pathologist if a slight lithium toxicity meant the woman could have been unsteady on her feet and prone to falling.

Dr Glenn said that would be one side effect of Ms Marinovich's medication but her other injuries were not consistant with a natural fall.

The jury trial before Justice Walker is set down for two weeks but may finish earlier.