19 Apr 2024

Angela Blackmoore case: Two people to be sentenced for murder

7:45 am on 19 April 2024
Angela Blackmoore was found murdered in her Christchurch home in 1995.

Angela Blackmoore was murdered on 17 August 1995. Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

Two people will today be sentenced for their role in the brutal murder of pregnant Christchurch woman Angela Blackmoore in 1995.

David Hawken and Rebecca Wright-Meldrum were found guilty of the 21-year-old's murder in December following a jury trial at the High Court in Christchurch.

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.

Her friends and family waited almost 25 years for answers, until Jeremy Powell confessed to the killing in 2019.

That breakthrough in the cold case led to Powell's life imprisonment a year later and police laying charges against Hawken and Wright-Meldrum.

Powell was a key Crown witness in the four-week trial late last year.

Powell told the court Hawken ordered Blackmoore's murder and offered $10,000 to him and his then-girlfriend Wright-Meldrum to carry out the hit.

He said 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.

Powell claimed he 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.

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 Blackmoore's, was described by the prosecution as essential in securing access to the Wainoni property on the night of the murder.

Hawken never paid him after the killing, Powell said.

It took the jury two days of deliberations to decide on Hawken and Wright-Meldrum's guilt.

Following the verdicts Blackmoore's partner at the time of her death, Laurie Anderson, said he always knew Hawken was responsible.

"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," Anderson said.

Police said officers had tirelessly sought justice for Blackmoore and her family for almost three decades.

"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," Detective Sergeant Todd Hamilton said, at the time of the verdict.

"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."

Hawken and Wright-Meldrum faced the prospect of life imprisonment.

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