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The murder suspect who sparked an international manhunt after abandoning his daughter at a Melbourne train station says he has been framed - and blames his wife's death on a mystery man he claims she met weeks earlier.

The Herald on Sunday can today give the first insight into the defence Nai Yin Xue will use to fight a charge of murdering 27-year-old wife Anan Liu, whose body was found in the boot of a car outside their Auckland home in September last year.

Xue's lawyer, Chris Comeskey, confirmed the former martial arts instructor and self-proclaimed "grandmaster" would vigorously defend the murder charge on the grounds he was not Liu's killer. Comeskey would not be drawn on all aspects of Xue's defence, but confirmed he was about to hire a private investigator to try to track the man Xue claims was responsible for his wife's murder.

Xue had given him the man's name and details, and Comeskey said he hoped to question him soon over Liu's murder.

For legal reasons, the Herald on Sunday cannot publish the specific details around Xue's likely defence, but can reveal the 54-year-old has pinned Liu's death on the mystery man.

Xue claims the man killed Liu after meeting her weeks earlier and then dumped her body in the back of Xue's car in an attempt to frame him for the murder. He then panicked.

Comeskey had yet to speak to Xue about why he dumped his 3-year-old daughter Qian Xun Xue - dubbed 'Pumpkin" by police - at a train station in Melbourne but that issue would be addressed.

Xue will face a depositions hearing in September on the murder charge which should go to trial early next year if it is found he has a case to answer.

Xue, who emigrated to New Zealand from China 12 years ago, had a stormy relationship with Liu, his second wife. At the time she was murdered he was prohibited by court order from having contact with her. This followed an argument in September 2006 over the couple's finances, which ended in Xue attacking Liu with a knife and punching her several times in the head. Qian Xun, then aged 2, was also hit with a mobile phone after it ricocheted off a wall.

Child Youth and Family became involved and Liu and her daughter spent a month at the Shakti Asian Women's Refuge in South Auckland.

Shortly after, she returned with her daughter to China, but three months later returned to New Zealand and resumed contact with Xue.

They lived apart, but met regularly to share time with their daughter.

According to Liu's website blog, she found love with a married Wellington artist and moved to the capital to be with him. But the affair with the "little, bad and very cute" man was short-lived and Liu returned to Auckland and decided to give her marriage with Xue another go.

However, last September Liu disappeared and her car was discovered at Auckland International Airport. It had been abandoned by Xue, who had left the country with his daughter.

He flew to Melbourne, abandoned her at the Southern Cross station then flew to Los Angeles.

Police cordoned off and searched the family's Mt Roskill home, unaware for days that Liu's body was in the boot of a silver Honda owned by Xue and parked outside the house.

A manhunt was launched for Xue and five months later he was captured in the United States and returned under guard to New Zealand, where he was charged with his wife's murder. Qian Xun Xue now lives with her grandmother in China.