The jury in the trial of the rape and murder of Blessie Gotingco has heard a forensic expert say blood traces found in the cemetery led him to believe her body was dragged through long grass and bush to where it was later found.

Eight witnesses have been called by the prosecution in the High Court at Auckland today, including neighbours of the defendant, police who formed part of the investigation and a forensic expert.

The man accused of murdering Blessie Gotingco, appearing in the dock at Auckland High Court. File photo / NZ Herald
The man accused of murdering Blessie Gotingco, appearing in the dock at Auckland High Court. File photo / NZ Herald

Rian Morgan-Smith, a scientist for ESR, said he was called to the Eskdale Cemetery after police discovered Mrs Gotingco's body.

He said he used luminol technology to find "probable blood areas" and discovered a trail leading from part of the cemetery into the bush area where Mrs Gotingco lay.


"She was lying on the ground with a sheet over her, she was also partially covered by loose vegetation."

He described how her top was pulled up to her neck, exposing her breasts, and her trousers were still belted up but pulled down around her thighs.

He was asked for his expert opinion on what happened.

"Mrs Gotingco was brought to the cemetery in a vehicle.... then most likely carried from the vehicle to the unmown area of grass then pulled to the area of bush... the person that did this has then walked back to the vehicle... leaving a trail of partial show prints."

The jury has also heard from neighbours of the defendant and a young girl who described hearing a "high-pitched scream" on May 24, the night Mrs Gotingco went missing.

The crown alleges Mrs Gotingco was struck by the defendant in his car, then raped and murdered by him. The defendant, who is representing himself, has name suppression, but Justice Timothy Brewer has allowed his image to be published.

The first neighbour, Stephen Meadows, told the jury he had heard loud music coming from the defendant's apartment below his that same Saturday.

Mr Meadows said he was watching television around 9pm when he noticed the music was loud and he considered going downstairs to ask whoever was playing it to turn it off.

Mr Meadows said he thought it was unusual because he had not heard music coming from the apartment before.

The defendant, who is representing himself in the trial, asked Mr Meadows how loud the music was.

"It wasn't overly loud but I could hear it," he said.

"I put it to you that you heard no music because I had no stereo to play such music on," the defendant replied.

The second neighbour, Ann-Marie Lee, was away the weekend Blessie went missing, but came home late on Sunday night.

On Monday morning she went out for a morning walk, and said she saw a tall, slim and tidy man outside.

She said she saw the man from behind carrying an empty rubbish bag and wearing "summer gear" on a very cold day.

The defendant asked the witness whether she had noticed an ankle bracelet on the person she saw or any tattoos.

Ms Lee said she couldn't remember.

These two witnesses were the only that the defendant cross-examined this morning, instead his amicus Chris Watkinson-Smith, the lawyer he fired, was called upon.

The next witness called by the prosecution was Detective Shane Page who completed an investigation of the vehicle taken from the defendant's address upon his arrest.

Mr Page said he found cuts and scratches in the leather of the passenger seats in the back of the car, as well as blood in many areas.

Foam had been removed from the seat squabs and a passenger seatbelt was cut short.

He also found a large speaker in the boot of the car that wasn't connected to the car's stereo system.

He described to the jury how his dog came across a leg.

"The dog was burrowing into ground matter, he then pulled at something canvas-like, then a leg appeared," Mr Harris said.

Mr Harris said he also saw a plastic bag and a red towel in the area.

Constable Nathan Burtenshaw told the jury he was sent to an address in Birkdale to check rubbish bins.

He said he came across two orange bags in the area.

"In the orange bags I found foam material with what appeared to be blood stains and hair matter," he said.

He also found a piece of seatbelt and sponge.

Throughout the evidence given today the defendant sat hunched over a desk placed in the dock, often writing notes to be passed to Mr Wilkinson-Smith.

The trial continues.