Warning: This story discusses graphic details of domestic violence
An angry Samuel Hemuera Pou punched his partner more than 100 times for over an hour after she spilled wine in a hut where the couple were living, a jury has heard.
Samuel Hemuera Pou is on trial in the High Court at Whangārei on one charge of murdering Bridget Odelle Simmonds at Parakao, 40km west of Whangārei, some time between February 23, 2019 and March 16, 2019.
Prior to the trial, the 58-year-old pleaded guilty to four charges of injuring with intent to injure and one of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Also on trial is his nephew Te Koha Samuel Pou, 32, who is charged with dishonestly using her bank card three days after she was reported missing by her family. He is also charged with assisting Samuel Pou avoid arrest.
The murder charge comes after the body of Simmonds was found at a rural property on Wilson Rd, on June 12, 2020. The discovery came 15 months after Simmonds went missing and after new information came to light which caused investigators to believe foul play was involved in the disappearance of the mother-of-two.
Crown prosecutor Mike Smith told the jury yesterday of an admission made by Samuel Pou during a video interview at the Whangārei police station on June 11, 2019.
In the interview, Smith said the 58-year-old admitted beating Simmonds for 90 minutes or thereabouts with punches so hard he either broke or damaged his fingers.
The blows were primarily directed on her legs and medical experts discovered a number of fractures to her legs, right wrist, and a possible fracture or break in the eye socket.
On one occasion, he told the jury Samuel Pou used a tree branch to beat her at least a dozen times.
After allegedly killing her, Smith said Samuel Pou partially wrapped her body, dragged it to a ditch 90m away, and buried it in a shallow grave covered with leaves and other dirt.
More than a year after she died, Smith said police spoke to a taxi driver who drove Simmonds from Countdown in Regent to the Wilson Rd property on February 23, 2019 when she was last seen.
Her mother had dropped her at Countdown on her way to Auckland for the weekend that day and Simmonds was reported missing on March 6 after communication with her family stopped.
After speaking to the taxi driver and obtaining CCTV footage and phone records, Smith said police obtained warrants to covertly look around the Wilson Rd property in a bid to find Simmonds.
Smith said Samuel Pou initially told police he had not seen Simmonds after she left the Otaika Motel and Holiday Park where she lived until February 2019.
There was evidence how Samuel Pou had behaved with former partners, the jury heard.
The Crown's first witness was registered community health nurse Athene Pattinson who said she was concerned that Simmonds wanted to move from the holiday park to a rural property after learning the latter had earlier sought treatment at Whangārei Hospital's emergency department.
On February 15, 2019, Pattison said Simmonds called her to say Samuel Pou had assaulted her.
She wore dark glasses, her eyes were "very black" and extremely bloodshot, and she was in quite a bit of pain, Pattison said.
In his brief address to the jury, Samuel Pou's lawyer Arthur Fairley said his client made it clear in his interview with police that he deliberately beat Simmonds around the legs to avoid killing her.
The Crown, he said, would have to prove that Samuel Pou's beating was a substantial and operative cause of her death.
John Moroney, representing Te Koha Samuel Pou, said the issue for the man he represented was whether he dishonestly used Simmonds' Eftpos card.
The trial before Justice Christine Gordon continues.
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