The daughter of a separated couple jointly raising twins Karlos and Hosea Stephens and her partner wanted to adopt the babies because they'd all bonded so tightly.

Courtney Scurr, the former partner of Finesse Broughton told the High Court at Rotorua this while giving evidence via audio visual link from the UK this morning.

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Broughton's father Shane Claude Roberts, 60, is on trial for the murder of 10-month old Karlos Stephens some time between November 29 and 30, 2014 at Rotorua.

He denied the charge when his trial opened on Monday.


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Scurr told the court her partner, who she referred to as Fin, had been ecstatic when her mother phoned her at their Whangārei home in mid-2014 to say she effectively had twin brothers.

"I was happy too but also apprehensive," she said.

Within a week they'd come to Rotorua to meet the babies. "Fin and her twin sister Fawn immediately bonded with the babies, as did I. The bond became so close Fin and I wanted to adopt them."

There'd been a family meeting to discuss the possibility.

At one stage she and Fin had taken Karlos to stay with them in Whangārei but Roberts put his foot down about baby Hosea going too.

"About a week later we got a call from Rachael [Broughton's mother] saying there was a Plunket meeting and we had to bring him back to Rotorua, we did but there was no meeting."

Asked by co-prosecutor Duncan McWilliam about the condition of the Alison St home Roberts was living in with the twins, her response was "disgusting, dirty . . . there weren't any cots, I understood they were sleeping in the bed with Shane, there was nothing child-safe in that house."


She talked of meeting the twins' birth mother, Pamela Stephens, a couple of times saying she (Stephens) and Roberts' ex-wife Rachael Broughton didn't like each other.

She understood Roberts and the twins were staying at Rachael's home in Homedale St while she and other Broughton family members went to Christchurch for Fawn's graduation.

She understood the babies were there because Roberts' Alison St home lacked power.

"We left them with nappies, milk, everything they'd need while we were gone."

She'd been with the Broughtons when Stephens called saying Karlos was dead.

Back in Rotorua, Roberts told them he'd found Karlos lying face down on his former wife's bed in Homedale St.

"He said he'd phoned a friend to take them to the hospital but by the time they arrived Karlos was dead."

Asked about the condition of the Homedale St house after Karlos' death, she described it as "an abomination, there were soiled nappies, vomit, alcohol cans, discarded men's and babies' clothing."

Questioned by Roberts' lawyer Max Simpkins, Scurr agreed she and Fin had gone through turbulent times but by the time she left New Zealand in 2016 they'd resolved their issues. Fin and Hosea had waved her off at the airport.

Asked about her relationship with Roberts she said sometimes she got on with him, sometimes she didn't.

Scurr told Simpkins after Karlos' death she had cared for the surviving Stephens twin, Hosea, in Whangārei, with Fin Broughton was living close by.

Finesse Broughton told the jury when she first saw the twins a week after her mother told her they'd joined the family they were very tiny, but by her next visit they'd gained weight, were sleeping better and were generally more healthy.

She and Scurr had taken Karlos to Whangārei to give her father a break although Hosea had remained with him.

Earlier in the day, Scurr told the court Finnesse Broughton had been ecstatic when her mother phoned her at their Whangarei home in mid 2014 to say she effectively had twin brothers.

The two of them had bonded so closely with them they wanted to adopt them.

Seven of the Crown's anticipated 36 witnesses have testified since the trial began before Justice Matthew Muir on Monday.

Broughton's evidence is continuing.