11 Nov 2015

Witnesses deny killing Mei Fan

8:32 pm on 11 November 2015

Several men known to Mei Fan, who was stabbed to death in her Wellington home in November 2013, have denied being her killer.

Wellington High Court

High Court in Wellington Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

They were giving evidence today at the trial of Ms Fan's estranged husband, Michael Preston, who is before the High Court in Wellington accused of her murder.

Mei Fan.

Mei Fan Photo: NZ POLICE

Amongst those giving evidence on Wednesday was Ms Fan's former boyfriend, Tani Hoyhtya, who had met her in China in 2011 and now lives in Vietnam.

Mr Hoyhtya said he was at home in Hanoi when he received a call to say she had died.

He said he regarded himself as being in a relationship with Mei Fan from March 2011 until November 2013, even though she had told him in September that year the relationship was over.

In reply to questions from defence lawyer Steve Gill, he said he found out in September she had slept with her ex-husband - the accused, Mr Preston - and he emailed her saying that was a breach of trust.

Mr Hoyhtya told the court Mr Preston said he had slept with Ms Fan four times and "once was in a bed in the home I hoped would be mine in future".

He said Ms Fan had told him she had told Mr Preston about her relationship with him.

Mr Hoyhyta said he had bought her jewellery, including a diamond ring worth about $2000 on Valentine's Day in 2013.

He told the court he was aware Ms Fan had been introduced into a pyramid scheme by some friends in China and her uncle was also involved.

He said he knew she had ended up losing $US20,000 of her own money and her uncle had also lost $US12-13,000.

Mr Hoyhyta agreed with Mr Gill that the uncle blamed Ms Fan for his losses.

He said he did not kill Mei Fan and did not hire a hitman to kill her.

Another man, whose name is suppressed, gave evidence of meeting Ms Fan through a dating site and going out with her twice.

He said they had not had a physical relationship and also denied killing her.

Robert Dalziel, whose children attended the same school as those of Mr Preston and Ms Fan, told the court Ms Fan was trying to break away from her husband and have some independence in the months before she died.

He said when he spoke to Mr Preston, it was always generally about Ms Fan and Mr Preston sounded like he wanted to have control of her and thought he might be losing control.

Mr Dalziel said Mr Preston told him Ms Fan was trying to hurt him and she was nasty and evil towards him.

He said, in the days before she died, Ms Fan had talked about taking her children to the big Guy Fawkes fireworks display in Wellington, and he texted her about that, but when he didn't hear from her he stayed at home with his wife and family.

Mr Dalziel also denied killing Ms Fan.

Late on Wednesday, Salvation Army captain Malcolm Robinson, who led church services attended by Mr Preston, began giving evidence.

He said the accused told him he believed Ms Fan should be deported from New Zealand and spoke regularly about that.

Mr Robinson said Mr Preston told him the date 6/6/76 was in Ms Fan's passport and, referencing the Bible, he said the fact those numbers included "666" showed she was Satan's helper.

He said on the Sunday when Ms Fan's body was found, Mr Preston was at a service at the Salvation Army in Miramar.

He said Mr Preston became upset and emotional and he followed him to the toilet, where he found him crying over a handbasin.

Mr Robinson said Mr Preston was emotional and distraught and appeared extremely on edge, and "appeared to be looking to the heavens and said 'what have I done'".

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