One of Lou Vincent's closest friends said the cricketer's depression stopped him from getting out of bed some days when he was dropped from the New Zealand team.

Steve Pearson said Vincent was in a "bad space" when he went to the Indian Cricket League and was "prime candidate" to become involved in matchfixing.

Mr Pearson appeared as a witness in the Southwark Crown Court overnight as the Crown begins to wind up its case against Chris Cairns on charges of perverting the course of justice and perjury.

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Mr Pearson was a club cricketer who played for Auckland when he first met Vincent, who was playing for New Zealand at the time, around 15 years ago.

He told the jury they struck up a close friendship and Mr Pearson said he shared similar problems with Vincent, who has well documented struggles with mental health.

"We try to be there for each other."

Vincent was dropped from the New Zealand cricket team in 2007 and Mr Pearson said his friend did not cope well with his demotion.

"He couldn't get out of bed some days," said Mr Pearson, who offered Vincent some work as a builder to get him out of the house for a week.

Vincent was then offered a $US350,000 annual contract with the Chandigarh Lions in the Indian Cricket League in 2008.

Asked what Vincent's state of mind was like, Mr Pearson said he was in a "bad space".

"He was looking at it as a fresh start. Mentally he was really struggling, he was looking at people for direction...[when depression is like that] everything is foggy, nothing is clear."


For three years, the friends kept in touch by cellphone or email but Mr Pearson did not see Vincent until August 2011.

He flew to England to watch Vincent and their mutual friend Andre Adams play county cricket.

Vincent picked him up from Heathrow airport in a car and told Mr Pearson he needed to stop to meet someone on the way to Hove, where he lived.

At one point, Vincent stopped the car on the side of the road and another car pulled up behind him.

Vincent opened the boot of his car and something was placed in there.

Tired from the long-haul flight, Mr Pearson said he "didn't think anything of it at the time". He later found out it was a bag full of money.

Chris Cairns arrives at Southward Crown Court in London. Photo / Chris Gorman
Chris Cairns arrives at Southward Crown Court in London. Photo / Chris Gorman

Two days later, the pair were having a few drinks at home when Vincent told him about his deep involvement in matchfixing in a confession which lasted 10 hours.

Mr Pearson said Vincent was not coping with the pressure of trying to hide his corruption.

"He got to the point where he needed to tell something. It was a release for him."

Vincent told him about the first approach from a matchfixer in the hotel room, where he was offered the cash and a woman, which he later reported to his captain Chris Cairns.

Mr Pearson said Vincent told him Cairns recruited him to underperform in four ICL games and recounted the story about when Vincent mistakenly hit a six and four, instead of getting out.

Vincent told him that Cairns was angry and later threatened him with a cricket bat in a hotel room, said Mr Pearson.

He later confessed to fixing games in the United Kingdom.

Under cross examination by Orlando Pownall QC, Mr Pearson agreed Vincent was concerned about being extradited back to the United Kingdom.

Asked how he felt about Vincent's confession of matchfixing, Mr Pearson said he was "pretty shocked and disappointed and gutted and then really angry".

"When he left [for India], he was really vulnerable. He was a prime candidate to be approached."