Sister tells police: 'I just went feral'

The Tauranga woman on trial for bashing her sister and encouraging her pitbull puppy to join in the savage attack told a police detective that she "just went feral" and had "gone berserk".

Phillipa Bayley, 54, who is on trial in Tauranga District Court has denied one count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The assault on Liz Smith is alleged to have occurred at Bayley's Welcome Bay home in the early hours of May 21, 2011 after the pair got into a heated dispute after a night out at a local pub.

Under cross-examination by Bayley's lawyer Bill Nabney yesterday Ms Smith denied she attacked her sister and held her down before the accused overpowered her and assaulted her.

Ms Smith repeatedly denied Bayley's claim that she kicked her sister in the ribs, slapped and punched her, bent a finger back and scratched her while ripping her glasses from her face.

The jury also heard evidence from two police officers who responded to the two 111 calls made from Bayley's telephone that night.

Constable Brooke White gave evidence that when she and her male colleague arrived at the house she could clearly see Bayley through the ranchslider straddling Ms Smith and repeatedly punching her with both hands about the face.

Ms White said Bayley was using full body weight to hold Ms Smith down and she counted at least eight punches inflicted to her head.

Constable Campbell MacKinnon told the jury that the accused had total control over Ms Smith who was unable to extract herself while she was being repeatedly punched.

"I couldn't make out her sex at first to be honest as I could only see the top of her head which was a bloody mess, and any skin on the top of her head was all red. I could hear her moaning and obviously she was in quite a bit of distress, and the defendant was sitting upright as it she was almost resting, and seemed to be out of breath, quite a bit," the constable said. "Then I could see the defendant starting to punch the complainant quite forcibly and deliberately one hand after the other.

"I saw a total of eight hard punches to the head, bang, bang, bang and she did that eight times. There weren't short jabs but driven and quite forcibly connecting fully, boom, boom."

Mr MacKinnon said he and Ms White did not immediately enter the house as Bayley's two dogs, an alsatian and a pitbull were acting aggressively.

He said when Bayley did stop the assault and came out of the house the dogs immediately rushed at them, and had to be pepper-sprayed.

Mr MacKinnon said the pitbull puppy's snout and jaw were dripping with blood.

Ms White said when Bayley came out of the house and was arrested for assault, she was also covered in blood.

She was "quite intoxicated, her speech was slurred, and she was crying and hysterical".

She said Bayley also had noticeable scratch marks on her face.

Ms White said during the ride back to Tauranga police station Bayley told her the alsatian hadn't done anything, but the little pitbull had "got in there and attacked Liz".

The jury also saw a video-taped interview of Bayley being questioned by Detective Constable Aaron Drayson at Tauranga police station the day of the attack.

Bayley confirmed to him that she had repeatedly punched Ms Smith and "whacked her" with a chess piece.

"I just let loose. I was out of control, totally out of control. I just went feral. I just know that I'd had enough and didn't want to be on the receiving end ... I have just gone nuts, absolutely nuts ..."

Mr Drayson also gave evidence that the next day Bayley said to him, "I must have gone bloody berserk. I have made a major impact haven't I."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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