Doubts cast on timing of Liu death

By Andrew Koubaridis

A defence witness has told the murder trial of Nai Yin Xue that she saw him driving his car with a small Asian woman and a child as passengers a day after police allege he killed his wife, An An Liu.

Susan Nuttall of Hillsborough was driving along Frederick St in her suburb when a car coming in the opposite direction swerved in front of her.

"I thought it would stop but it didn't," Mrs Nuttall told the High Court at Auckland.

When the car swerved in front of her, she took evasive action and pulled over to the side of the road, "otherwise he would have hit me".

She said the car was silver and had signwriting with Chinese characters on it that had "something to do with a newspaper".

Asked by Xue's lawyer, Chris Comeskey, to describe the car's occupants, she said the driver was a solid, chubby male who had a smaller Asian woman next to him. A child sat in a car seat at the back.

Mrs Nuttall said they appeared to be a family and that made her angry because she thought he was taking them for a "joyride" in a company car.

It was not until she saw television news reports featuring Xue's Chinese Times car that she realised it was the same one that almost crashed into her.

Ms Liu's body was found in the boot of the car on September 19. It was parked outside the couple's house in Keystone Ave, Mt Roskill.

Mrs Nuttall identified the driver as Xue but could describe the passenger only as someone who was smaller in stature.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Aaron Perkins, she said she was sure the passenger's ethnicity was Asian but could not be specific about hair or eye colour. She told Mr Perkins she could not identify the woman.

Only one other witness was called by the defence. John Carter, the vice-president of the New Zealand International Guild of Knot Tyers, told the court the knot found around Ms Liu's neck appeared very loosely tied.

He described it as a "granny knot" because it appeared amateurish.

Mr Carter said if pressure was applied it would make the loop bigger but the knot would be smaller and tighter. When it was loosened, it was unlikely to revert to its original shape.

Mr Perkins will present the Crown's closing address this morning before Mr Comeskey presents his closing address to the all-female jury.

- NZ Herald

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