A jealous truck driver who bashed his Christchurch neighbour and occasional lover to death has lost his latest appeal to the highest court in New Zealand.

Timothy Joseph Foley admitted assaulting 41-year-old Michelle Mary Lawrence before he phoned emergency services on June 9, 2012.

But in his appeals, Foley claimed there was a "13–15 minute window" in which another person had delivered the final fatal blows.

Foley pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced in May 2015 to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 11 years, eight months.


The Court of Appeal dismissed Foley's first appeal, concluding it was unlikely a third person could have inflicted the fatal injuries in such a narrow timeframe while also finding "nothing meritorious in the various complaints made about the process which had preceded his guilty plea", including complaints over police and counsel conduct.

And now, the Supreme Court has agreed with the trial and appeal judges that there has not been a miscarriage of justice, and Foley's bid to appeal his conviction has been denied.

Foley received a trespass notice from Lawrence five days before her murder.

On the night of the attack, he struck her around the head "at least eight times" with a steel jimmy bar.

Foley phoned 111 before covering her with a blanket and leaving her bloodied and dying on the floor.

She was rushed to hospital with head injuries and died three weeks later.

In an appeal against his conviction, Foley claimed he did not receive proper advice before pleading guilty and another neighbour, Mr T, who was also Lawrence's lover, was responsible for her death.

According to Foley - who admits to striking Lawrence twice with a garden gnome, but denies beating her with a jimmy bar - Mr T, who has name suppression, "seized the opportunity" after he had left her flat and finished her off before emergency services could arrive.

In sentencing, Justice Cameron Mander said Foley had "harboured some jealousy" after thinking she was having a relationship with another man.

Reports before the court during his trial noted Foley - who had 85 previous convictions primarily for fraud and dishonesty offences - had a "habit of telling grandiose lies".