Bag snatch death: Jury still out

By Brendan Manning

Christopher Shadrock. File photo / Natalie Slade
Christopher Shadrock. File photo / Natalie Slade

A jury in the High Court at Auckland will this morning continue their deliberations over a man who is accused of murdering a woman in a botched bag snatch, and four others accused of covering his tracks.

Christopher Shadrock, 25, allegedly ran down Jian 'Joanne' Wang in a stolen 4WD in the carpark of the Manukau Westfield shopping centre in June 2008 after snatching her handbag.

She died of head injuries in hospital the next day.

Justice Timothy Brewer summed up the case yesterday afternoon before the jury retired. The jury of 12 will resume their deliberations this morning.

He apologised to the jury for the length of time the trial had taken - what was initially meant to be a three-week trial has taken nearly six.

He told the jury to focus on Ms Wang's movements prior to being hit, where she was hit, the speed Shadrock was travelling prior to hitting her and whether he used just the stolen 4WD's gears or also braked when changing from reverse to drive forward.

These were crucial points to the case, strongly contested by the defence and prosecution.

"The onus is on the Crown to prove the charge it brought before the court."

Justice Brewer reminded the jury that they had to believe "beyond reasonable doubt" that Shadrock was conscious that there was a real risk Ms Wang could die, or by hitting her with the 4WD he could cause her injuries that would result in death.

Crown prosecutor Kevin Glubb earlier told the jury to look at the bigger picture, "it was a bag-snatching that just went so horribly wrong."

"She didn't stand a chance."

In her handbag was a large amount of cash from a small business she owned, he said.

Shadrock's lawyer Chris Wilkinson-Smith told the jury in his summing up that on the morning of the bag-snatching, Shadrock had been drinking and he was "tipsy".

He said that although Shadrock went to the carpark that day with the intention of carrying out the "grubby work" of robbing someone it was never his intention to murder anyone.

"In my heart I know I didn't mean to hurt her," he said Shadrock told police during an interview.

Mr Wilkinson-Smith said Shadrock didn't hit Ms Wang head-on, and "he wasn't really aware of where she was" in relation to the vehicle.

Mr Glubb had told the jurors in his opening address that Shadrock had options as he left the Manukau carpark, and the killing was unnecessary.

He said Shadrock ran down Mrs Wang in his desperate attempt to get away.

In the days after the incident, Shadrock's friends allegedly tried to help him by hiding the handbag and burning the stolen car they knew had been used to allegedly kill Mrs Wang and would tie him to the crime.

Four of Shadrock's associates have also been on trial for their alleged parts in the crime.

Maka Tuikolovatu has denied hiding Mrs Wang's handbag at his home.

Three others - Vila Lemanu, Lionel Tekanawa and Terence Tere - have denied destroying evidence, namely setting fire to the Nissan 4WD in the days following Mrs Wang's death.

- APNZ

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