8 Dec 2023

Angela Blackmoore case: Two defendants found guilty of murder

5:11 pm on 8 December 2023
Angela Blackmoore was found murdered in her Christchurch home in 1995.

Angela Blackmoore who was stabbed multiple times in her home in 1995. Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

The partner of Angela Blackmoore has described two people convicted of her murder as parasites after an almost 30-year wait for justice.

A jury has found both David Hawken and Rebecca Wright-Meldrum guilty of the murder of the Christchurch woman in 1995.

The pair have been standing trial over the past four weeks at the High Court in Christchurch after pleading not guilty to the killing.

It follows the trial which was abandoned in May after new material came to hand that lawyers needed time to review.

Blackmoore's partner at the time of her death, Laurie Anderson, said news of the unanimous guilty verdicts was "fantastic".

"I have spent the four weeks sitting listening to these two parasites from society. I always knew Hawken was involved in Angela's murder that night. He is a two-bit con artist always looking how to steal or trick people by giving false promises," he said.

Anderson said he planned to visit Blackmoore's grave to share the good news.

"I will go and see it [her grave] and I will be satisfied now," he said.

"The end goal was to get these people, it has happened. It is not the end, more will come out later. Wait and see. I am not yet at the top of the crest yet, of the hill, it will come out later," he said.

The verdict was revealed to the court on Friday after two days of deliberations.

A pregnant Blackmoore was bludgeoned and stabbed 39 times in her Wainoni home while her two-year-old son slept in a nearby room on 17 August, 1995.

The cold case hit a major breakthrough when a third person Jeremy Powell, confessed to Blackmoore's murder in 2019 after he was re-interviewed by police.

He was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 10 years, a year later.

Powell previously appeared as a Crown witness, when he told the court Hawken was instructed to carry out Blackmoore's murder with him and Wright-Meldrum offered $10,000 to aid a property deal.

He told the jury that Hawken threatened to kill his family if he did not murder Blackmoore, and boasted about his numerous gang connections.

The Crown argued that Powell was a "candid" and reliable witness during the trial, proposing Wright-Meldrum aided and abetted the man to murder Blackmoore.

The jury heard that Powell was reluctant to carry out the killing, but eventually succumbed to Hawken's threats.

"I knew he had gang connections. I believed he had done six murders up north. He was a very scary guy," Powell said.

The prosecution described their key witness as a "young man who was out of his depth" who had accepted his part in the killing.

Powell explained that he killed Blackmoore several days later and felt panicked before, during and after her murder.

"I remember hitting her two or three times with a bat, I remember the bat breaking," Powell said.

Powell said he hit her with a bat first because he wanted to knock her out "so that she wouldn't feel anything".

"I didn't want to hurt her," he said.

Wright-Meldum, who was a friend of the Blackmoores, was described as essential in securing access to the Wainoni property on the night of the murder.

Hawken never paid him after the killing, Powell said.

Meanwhile, the defence argued that Powell's evidence could not be relied upon as he had shown a tendency of lying and that Powell carried out a "sadistic death on Blackmoore with his own volition and for his own pleasure".

Hawken's defence counsel Anne Stevens KC submitted Powell lied to police, both in 1995 and again in 2019.

Stevens also argued that Powell initially claimed innocence around the presence of extreme pornography on his computer, claiming he downloaded the material "accidentally".

Powell's interest in the board game Dungeons and Dragons and "obsession with death" was also proposed by the defence.

Wright-Meldrum's lawyer, Philip Shamy, said that prosecutors "cherry-picked evidence" during the trial and chose to overlook forensic evidence at the crime scene, pointing to the fact only Powell's footprints were found.

This is despite allegations that Wright-Meldrum helped clean up the scene following the killing.

Hawken and Wright-Meldrum will be sentenced in April next year.

Police acknowledge verdict

In a statement police have acknowledged the guilty verdict.

"Police have tirelessly sought to bring justice for Angela and her family since her death nearly 30 years ago," Detective Sergeant Todd Hamilton said.

"At this time I would like to acknowledge Angela's parents, Pauline and Ray, who unfortunately are no longer with us to see this result that has been achieved for Angela."

Police also wanted to acknowledge other members of her family Jill and Leanne and her partner at the time of her death, Laurie, he said.

Hamilton thanked all the police staff who had been involved in the investigation over the years and the small team that bought the case to trial.

"We reiterate our sympathies to the family of Angela; the outcome today doesn't bring her back but we hope it gives her family some closure," he said.

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