Chris Cairns' wife said there were no discussions about match-fixing during a night of drinking in a bar in England - and denied accusations of lying to protect her husband.

Mel Cairns was in Australia but appeared in the Southwark Crown Court by video-link to give evidence in defence of Cairns, who is standing trial on charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

She told the court she would rather be in England by his side, but the family could not afford the cost. "It broke my heart to watch Chris walk every day, alone to and from court, and knowing he was going home alone by himself," Mrs Cairns said, in reference to media coverage of the trial.

The couple, who have two young children, first met during a beach cricket competition in Australia in January 2008, which Mel Crosser - as she was called then - helped to organise.


Chris Cairns was still married to Carin at that stage, which Mel Cairns agreed was sometimes uncomfortable in social occasions when she travelled to the United Kingdom in June 2008 to be with him.

"I'm sure it was seen as being my fault," she said of the marriage split.

She recalled a dinner at a Thai restaurant in Manchester in June 2008, when she had only been in the country for 10 days, organised by Stu Law who was the captain of the Lancashire cricket team.

Chris and Mel Cairns in London in 2012 when Cairns was suing for libel. Photo / Getty Images
Chris and Mel Cairns in London in 2012 when Cairns was suing for libel. Photo / Getty Images

Lou Vincent had recently signed for Lancashire which was about to play Nottinghamshire, the team Cairns represented.

At the dinner were the three players and their partners: Deb Law, Ellie Vincent - now Riley- and Mel Cairns

'Quite a bit more to drink'

The Laws went home but the other four carried on drinking at a different venue, the Manhattan Bar and Grill, where English all-rounder Freddie Flintoff turned up.

Mrs Cairns said it was a jovial evening, where everyone "had quite a bit more to drink" and went home at dawn.

In giving evidence earlier in the trial, Lou Vincent and his ex-wife Ellie Riley both said match-fixing was discussed at the Manhattan Bar and Grill that night.


Cairns assured Mrs Riley that "everyone was doing it in India" and they would not get caught, said Mrs Riley.

"He was very confident about that."

The conversation never happened, said Cairns in his evidence this week, and Mrs Cairns agreed.

"Absolutely not," she replied when asked by Cairns' barrister Orlando Pownall QC whether match-fixing was discussed.

He queried how she would have reacted, given the early stage of their relationship, if match-fixing had been discussed.

"Given industry I work in, and my background as an athlete, I absolutely would not have a relationship with him."

Mrs Cairns works with professional athletes in sports marketing and management and was awarded a scholarship to play basketball at a top United States university.

'New love, new relationship'

She talked about the night Chris Cairns was dismissed from the Chandigarh Lions in 2008 and recalled match-fixing allegations were discussed.

Cairns was very upset when Lalit Modi alleged he was involved in match-fixing in a Twitter message posted a message in January 2010.

She swore statements to support the libel action which Cairns took against Modi and eventually won at trial in 2012.

During cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Sasha Wass QC said the libel statements signed by Mrs Cairns suggested she was already in a "committed relationship" with Cairns by the time of the drinks at the Manhattan.

The couple travelled around Europe for three months in a holiday similar to a "honeymoon", according to a Women's Weekly article quoting Mrs Cairns.

Chris and Mel Cairns at the Halberg Awards in 2014. Photo / Getty Images
Chris and Mel Cairns at the Halberg Awards in 2014. Photo / Getty Images

In response, Mrs Cairns said there was a mistaken date in the libel case and said the "honeymoon" term may have been attributed to her by the magazine writer. "I think I was referring more to new love, new relationship, something fun like that."

While giving evidence earlier this week, Cairns told the court he repaid 9000 pounds in cash to Daniel Vettori in 2008.

He was often paid in cash, for speaking engagements or appearances, and kept the money in a safe at home, rather than a bank.

Asked whether this was to "fiddle" his tax affairs, Cairns agreed.

Mrs Cairns said she never saw such large amounts of cash, and if she had, she would ask where it came from.

Was she surprised that her husband would try to avoid paying tax, asked Ms Wass. "Is that the sort of man your husband is, or not?"

Mrs Cairns said she was unaware of the circumstances.

Under further questioning from the QC, Mrs Cairns agreed she did not remember "one way or another" whether Ellie Riley had expressed concerns about Lou Vincent to Chris Cairns, or if Cairns reassured her they wouldn't be caught.

Vincent and Mrs Riley had an acrimonious divorce and therefore his former wife had no reason to support his version of events, said Ms Wass.

"Do you know why Ellie would lie to implicate Chris," she asked.

Mrs Cairns replied: "As far as I know, Chris and Eleanor did not have an argument."

On the other hand, Mrs Cairns loved her husband and their two children and the Crown prosecutor asked whether she had a motive to lie. "I have no reason to lie, especially in a court of law."