Tensions in the High Court at Hamilton peaked this afternoon after a member of the public took a verbal shot at a man who had an affair with a woman later killed by her partner.

Kim Richmond went missing early on July 31, 2016. Her body was found in Lake Arapuni 11 months later and her partner of 26 years Cory Jefferies charged with her murder.

Her fitbit recorded her last heartbeat at 3.43am on July 31, 2016.

Jefferies admits killing her, but says it was unintentional, or manslaughter and not murder.

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Jefferies' week-long trial began in the High Court at Hamilton today before a jury of five men and seven women.

The Crown alleges that her death was carried out by her jealous partner after he became aware she was having an affair with their neighbour.

Cory Scott Jefferies in the dock in the High Court at Hamilton yesterday. Photo/Alan Gibson.
Cory Scott Jefferies in the dock in the High Court at Hamilton yesterday. Photo/Alan Gibson.

He discovered the affair seven months prior to her death and repeatedly approached the married man, Alfons Te Brake, and each time he attempted to calm an angry Jefferies.

The angry member of the public appeared to nearly come to blows with Te Brake in the public gallery this afternoon, standing up to give him his seat before interrupting his wife's testimony to shout "If Cory did whack anybody it should have been you" before eyeballing Alfons Te Brake and storming out.

Earlier this morning Crown prosecutor Ross Douch said Jefferies told Te Brake "I just want to f***** kill the bitch" and that he "wanted her gone".

In the weeks before her death, Jefferies obtained photos of the pair kissing and again confronted Te Brake.

Richmond, the mother of Jefferies' three children, went missing during the early hours of July 31, 2016, after the couple had been at a function at the Arohena Hall where locals had gathered to watch a Chiefs semifinal game.

When Kim Richmond took up triathlons, Cory Jefferies joined her and they raced together at multisport events.
When Kim Richmond took up triathlons, Cory Jefferies joined her and they raced together at multisport events.

Her body was eventually found 11 months later in Lake Arapuni - where police had searched earlier - inside her Ford Ranger.

THE AFFAIR

Te Brake gave evidence confirming that there was kissing and cuddling between himself and Richmond.

He'd first noticed a change in feelings between him and Richmond when both couples were drinking at her home.

He was going to the toilet and Kim was walking down the hallway. He stepped to avoid her and she walked up to him and put her arms around him.

He recalled a couple of incidents in the following months when he was approached by Jefferies about an affair.

On one occasion, Te Brake told Jefferies he was "trying really hard not to have an affair" with his wife.

The most recent before her death was on July 9, 2016, when Jefferies drove around looking for Te Brake on his farm before getting out of his car and slamming the door and announcing they had broken up.

"He mentioned along the lines that he was going to f*** up my life and Kim's. I said, 'You go and help yourself.' I didn't ask him how he was going to do it."

Kim had confirmed to Te Brake they had broken up the night before and said she wanted to stay on with the farm and focus on the calves.

Te Brake said Jefferies was not impressed with her plan.

"He said to me, 'The f****** whore thinks she can live in the cottage and do the calves. She's not going to do that."

He said Kim had been surprised by the threats but told him she knew what she would do.

"I didn't push her for a response about what she was going to do."

In questioning from Sutcliffe, Te Brake confirmed that he and Richmond had "kissed and cuddled" on several occasions.

He also confirmed there had been "loose talk" about the couple getting together if their current relationships ever broke down.

He also questioned why he was now stating that Jefferies had previously threatened to kill Richmond when in his original statement he said he "wanted her gone".

Te Brake said he was "pretty sure" Jefferies had used those words.

Heather Te Brake also testified this afternoon.

In questioning from Douch, she recalled first being made aware about the possibility of an affair by Jefferies during a night drinking at their house in November last year.

She then gave evidence how she hit up the pair as they drove back from watching tennis in Auckland in January. However, they both denied that anything was going on.

She also hit her husband up about a text he received from Richmond which said "I saw you".

She also confronted Richmond who had come to her house about the text when Te Brake told her to "f*** off".

"I told her to f*** off and she wasn't welcome at my house anymore."

The couples eventually moved on and were drinking till the wee hours the following month when Te Brake said Jefferies told her that he hated her "and that the kids hated her as well".

He then he said he wanted to kill her and she told him he didn't mean that, and he replied "I do", she testified.

She then told her husband to take Richmond home and come straight home again.

When asked by Sutcliffe about her husband's testimony that she had wanted to kill Richmond, Te Brake said she didn't want to kill her and that the phrase was "just a figure of speech I suppose".

Richmond's friend Deborah Cottingham also gave evidence how they spent a night in Kinloch together the weekend before she died.

She took a screenshot of a letter which Jefferies had written to Richmond apologising for his actions in July and hoped they could give their marriage another shot.

She believed Richmond hadn't made up her mind about whether they were breaking up or not.

"I believe she had compassion for the history that they had together … I don't think she had a final decision that it was over because it was a massive decision."

She recalled Jefferies coming to her home announcing his marriage over and that he had photos of "them".

Cottingham said she had no idea what he was talking about, was unaware of any photos, and doubted there would be "paparazzi running around Arohena taking photos of a random woman".

THE FITBIT

Earlier, Douch said the couple had enjoyed a good night before she disappeared, with them staying until the event finished about 3am.

They then helped a man clean up before leaving the venue about 3.30am.

It was on that journey home that the Crown alleged her death occurred after GPS from their cellphones stopped about 120m short of their home.

It is then the Crown alleges that a violent attack took place in their vehicle.

The Fitbit recorded a period of elevated heartbeat between 3.30am and 3.39am as the couple helped tidy the hall before they set off and it calmed down.

Her last recorded heartbeat was at 3.43am.

Cellphone records helped detectives track Jefferies' phone as it travelled to Lake Arapuni before it headed back home.

Richmond's cellphone did not make the trip and stayed where the vehicle had stopped.

However, the tracking was also able to tell that it was moving at a much slower pace - a walking pace.

Jefferies eventually reported her missing on the Monday when he contacted Richmond's mother, Raywynne, asking if she had heard from or seen her daughter as he hadn't seen her since early Sunday morning.

Cory Scott Jefferies arriving at the High Court at Hamilton yesterday. Photo/Alan Gibson
Cory Scott Jefferies arriving at the High Court at Hamilton yesterday. Photo/Alan Gibson

Defence counsel Tom Sutcliffe told the jury his client accepted causing her death in the vehicle that night but it "was culpable homicide in that he committed manslaughter and not murder".

"Cory Jefferies admits that he is guilty of manslaughter but did he actually mean to kill her or mean to cause her bodily injury that will cause her death. What was the intention when something happened in that car?" he asked.

Evidence has concluded on the first day of the trial which six of the 11 witnesses taking the stand.

The trial, before Justice Sally Fitzgerald, continues tomorrow.