An engineer accused of giving ecstasy to a US polo player before she died in his spa pool is accused of refusing to ring emergency services, allegedly telling a mate, "F*** off. The police aren't coming around here".
Promising American polo player Lauren Mikaila Biddle, 22, died suddenly, most likely of a drug overdose, during a small gathering at a hillside house in the Christchurch suburb of Clifton on October 22, 2018.
Joseph Douglas McGirr, a 39-year-old Christchurch civil engineer, denies supplying Biddle – and a friend Guy Higginson – the Class-B controlled drug MDMA, also known as ecstasy, and attempting to pervert the course of justice by hiding Biddle's clothing after her death.
McGirr is standing trial at Christchurch District Court this week.
North Canterbury professional polo player Higginson, a mate of McGirr's and ex-boyfriend of Biddle, today gave evidence to say McGirr provided them with three 3cm long lines of ground up "kind of blue… bluey" ecstasy powder which they all snorted.
Higginson told the court of becoming friends with Biddle three years earlier when she first came to New Zealand to work for a local polo family.
He asked her to work Down Under in 2018 at his family's property and had been in the country just over week when she, Higginson and another of his friends went hunting and fishing overnight in the Lees Valley.
Afterwards, they had a few beers in North Canterbury before Biddle drove them to see Higginson's friend Joe McGirr who he'd known for a decade and who had "quite a nice house on the hill" in Christchurch.
They arrived about 5pm and started drinking beer, bourbon cans mixed with ginger ale, and black spiced rum while smoking some cannabis in McGirr's new spa pool.
At some point, Biddle was encouraged to go topless while Higginson was naked in the spa. McGirr and the other friend had togs or underwear on.
Later in the evening, it was just Higginson, Biddle and McGirr left.
Higginson says McGirr gave them all lines of ecstasy before having a memory blank.
The next thing Higginson remembers is standing near the spa and asking McGirr, "What the f*** did you give me?"
"Just E, man," McGirr allegedly replied.
Higginson's head felt like it was "going to explode" and his voice sound strange.
"I've never felt like that in my life… and I don't know what happened after that," he said.
Then he told of coming back to the spa and McGirr looking at him and saying Biddle was dead.
Higginson says Biddle wasn't moving. He tried shaking her. Again he alleges McGirr saying, "She's dead".
Higginson became upset today when relaying how he pulled her out of the spa and laid her on her side before starting CPR.
He says when he told McGirr, who remained in the spa, to call an ambulance he allegedly relied, "F*** off. The police aren't coming around here."
Higginson claims McGirr – who was serving a sentence of community detention and wearing an ankle bracelet and had a condition to remain at home and not drink alcohol after being convicted for drink-driving earlier - became aggressive and repeated he didn't want police to arrive.
"You've got to take her somewhere else," McGirr is alleged to have told Higginson.
Higginson bundled her into his car and drove to the top of McGirr's steep driveway where he phoned 111 and says he continued with CPR.
Emergency services arrived quickly but Biddle was declared dead on the roadside at around 1.20am.
But defence counsel Rupert Glover suggested to Higginson that his version of events was "a reconstruction, not a recollection" and completely inaccurate.
McGirr will tell the court, Glover says, that he had three pills, which he thought were party pills. He'll say that he had one, and that Higginson and Biddle had helped themselves to a second, and that a third one he had left in a bread basket he thinks Higginson and Biddle found it and consumed that too.
Under cross-examination, it was put to Higginson that it was actually McGirr who pulled Biddle out of the spa pool - not him.
And McGirr will say it was him who was doing CPR on Biddle – and that when he was doing so, he noticed Higginson face down in the spa. McGirr claims he reached into the spa and pulled Higginson out, saving his life.
Higginson denied those claims, saying, "That's not what happened."
Glover says that McGirr, although "deeply concerned" about Biddle, couldn't leave for the hospital because of his community detention conditions.
Higginson replied, "I'm sure they'd understand. If he was trying to save someone, they would understand."
The Crown earlier outlined its case to the jury, saying at the heart of the matter lies a small social gathering that went "horribly, tragically wrong".
After Biddle was found unconscious, and emergency services were being called, Crown prosecutor Kerry White claimed McGirr was back in the house "tidying evidence of the party", clearing bottles and cans, and throwing Biddle's clothes and belongings over his balcony into an overgrown section below.
He then took them further down the hill, the Crown says, and using a spade covering them with leaves and concealed them.
When police first arrived on the scene at around 2am, McGirr was not at home, the court heard. The Crown says it's likely he was burying Biddle's clothing.
At 3.30am, McGirr appeared out of bushes in front of house and made himself known to the police, the court heard.
He was taken to Christchurch central police station where gave a statement and told police what he had done with Biddle's bag and clothing, the Crown says.
At around 12.30pm in the afternoon that day, McGirr returned to the address with police and led them down into the overgrown section and pointed out the partially buried bag, clothing and shoes which he said belonged to Biddle, the court heard. Police also found seven cannabis plants still attached to garden stakes but had been uprooted.
The Crown says that the seven cannabis plants are important because they show he knew police were going to come to his house to investigate her death and very likely search his property.
The Crown says Biddle was very drunk - nearly four times the drink driving limit.
And it was found that she had a high concentration of MDMA in her system which was around 15 times greater than the "normal recreational use" of the drug.
It was such a high level of that it was "well within the range of previously encountered fatal concentration", the court heard.
A post-mortem found her cause of death was most likely a drug overdose that caused a sudden cardiac arrest.
The trial, before Judge Tom Gilbert, continues tomorrow.