Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Luke Tipene murder trial: 'I just stabbed that c***.'

Luke Tipene died after being attacked in Grey Lynn. Photo / Facebook
Luke Tipene died after being attacked in Grey Lynn. Photo / Facebook

A teenager accused of the murder of an up-and-coming rugby league star yelled out that he had stabbed the victim moments after the alleged attack, a witness says.

Vincent Angene Skeen, 18, is on trial before the High Court at Auckland accused of the murder of 17-year-old Luke Tipene on November 1, 2014.

Carl Jota, 19, spent the afternoon driving around town with the defendant and a couple of mates before they eventually got to Grey Lynn in the early hours of the morning as a party spilled on to the street.

He told the court how he initially saw Tipene knock Skeen over with a punch to the head.

The Crown case is that the defendant became angry and found a weapon to exact his revenge.

"Vincent ran to the edge of Coleridge St to the back of a ute... he was kind of like going through the back of the ute," Jota said.

"Two or three minutes after that I heard a bottle smash."

The pair were screaming at each other and fought again, the witness told the court.

"I remember Vincent fell to the ground again and I looked away because there were people making real loud noise," Jota said.

"When I looked away, this is when Luke went past me and I could just see blood coming out of his neck. I could just hear a choking noise."

While the victim held his gaping wound, the witness told the jury Skeen announced what had happened.

"I just stabbed that c***."

As Tipene lay on the ground, the witness saw the defendant leave the scene.

"Vincent went down Coleridge St. He was just walking real fast," Jota said.

"At that point I was just freaking out. I just wanted to leave the place really. It was a traumatic experience."

Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey told the jury yesterday a pathologist would give evidence that there were at least seven blows to the victim, one of which caused a 12cm wound, which stopped just short of Tipene's spine and pierced his jugular vein.

He died in hospital four hours later.

Yesterday the victim's cousin Nadene Togiavalu, 20, broke down in court as she recounted the sound of a beer bottle smashing on concrete.

Skeen began swinging at Tipene with the shard of glass as the victim backed off with his hands up, attempting to defuse the situation, she said.

"Then the bottle went into Luke's throat."

Togiavalu and her cousin retreated to the roadside as the melee subsided.

"I was a little bit in front of him and I turned around and he dropped his hands and all the blood started squirting out of his neck," she said.

"He was whispering the word 'ambulance' and I started screaming for help... I was just sitting there holding him, trying to stop the blood."

Defence counsel Lorraine Smith said her client - who was 16 at the time - may be guilty of manslaughter but lacked the requisite intent to be convicted of the more serious charge.

"The Crown will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Vincent Skeen... swinging out with a broken bottle, turned his mind to the fact that what he was about to do might well kill and he decided to take the risk regardless. The defence says that's simply not the case," she said.

The trial continues.

- NZ Herald

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