Cottrell trial: Woman denies 'gay' account

Murdered journalist Phillip Cottrell. Photo / supplied
Murdered journalist Phillip Cottrell. Photo / supplied

One of the men accused of murdering a Wellington journalist allegedly told his girlfriend that the man looked "gay" so his friend got smart to him moments before the pair punched and kicked him.

Radio New Zealand journalist Phillip Cottrell was rushed to hospital after being left with broken bones and a shattered skull in an attack on a central Wellington footpath early on December 10 last year.

He died in hospital the next day.

Nicho Waipuka, 20, and Manuel Robinson, 18, are on trial at the High Court at Wellington accused of his murder.

A year to the day since the beating, Waipuka's girlfriend Sylvanna Robinson-Stepien took the stand in the High Court at Wellington this morning.

Following the arrest of Waipuka and Robinson, Ms Robinson-Stepien told police that Waipuka told her that he and Robinson were roaming the streets of Wellington early on December 10 last year.

They saw a man walking along who Robinson thought looked "gay" so he got smart to him.

But under examination by crown prosecutor Grant Burston, Ms Robinson-Stepien, who is also Robinson's cousin, said what she told police was all a lie.

Mr Burston put it to Ms Robinson-Stepien that she told police that Robinson took offence to this man so he walked across the road and pushed him.

Waipuka then thought the man was going to hit Robinson so he went across the street and punched him.

He then fell to the ground after he was punched again by Waipuka.

Robinson grabbed a wallet and then kicked the man while he was lying on the ground.

He continued kicking him because he was still "moaning and groaning", Mr Burston said.

Ms Robinson-Stepien said it was all a lie.

"It's the most rubbish s*** I've heard in my life."

"Nicho never told me any of that."

She claimed police were corrupt and her statements, which were put before the court, were not the truth.

Ms Robinson-Stepien was arrested on Saturday after she did not appear last week when she was summoned to court to take the stand.

The trial continues.

- APNZ

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