Samuel Hamuera Pou is on trial for the murder of Bridget Simmonds in the High Court in Whangārei.
A jury is being asked to decide if a Whangārei man had murderous intent, or showed recklessness, when he delivered a fatal beating to his girlfriend in 2019.
Samuel Hamuera Pou, 60, is on trial in the High Court in Whangārei for the murder of Bridget Odelle Simmonds.
Simmonds, 42, was first reported missing in March 2019 and Pou initially told police he had no involvement in her disappearance.
But, more than a year later, Pou admitted Simmonds died after he beat her for about 90 minutes, delivering 100 blows to her legs and hands.
He told police he didn’t mean to kill her, with his defence counsel arguing that Pou was: “Whacking her around the legs deliberately so that she doesn’t die.”
Pou also led police to her remains, which were in a shallow ditch in a rural property west of Whangārei, where the pair were camping.
Crown lawyer Mike Smith, in his closing argument, told the jury on Wednesday that Pou killed Simmonds with the intent and knowledge to be charged with murder.
Some things about Simmonds’ death can not be known because of the state of decay when her remains were discovered but the fractures to her legs were so bad she would’ve been unable to walk, he said.
“We may never know many things but what, I suggest, we do know is that Samuel Pou killed her. He then proceeded to clean up, to disguise her body and to hide and continue hiding.”
Pou minimalised his involvement by saying he only concentrated his blows on Simmonds’ legs, but he never showed such restraint on two previous beatings on her, as well as when he assaulted a previous girlfriend, Smith said.
Simmonds’ death was – as Pou later told an associate – because she “narked” on him, Smith said.
But defence lawyer Arthur Fairley said the Crown had not proven Pou had murderous intent, and he should be found guilty of manslaughter, not murder.
Pou came clean to police when he described in “excruciating detail” the fatal beating – which was concentrated on her legs – and helped them find her remains, Fairley said.
Pou admitted the previous beatings on Simmonds and a previous girlfriend but in all those occasions the victims did not die, he said.
Fairley said his case was not to excuse his client’s “disgraceful conduct” both in the way he treated women and in the way he hid Simmonds’ body after panicking.
“If he had murderous intent, why go on for an hour and a half, why not just stab her … The reason he kept assaulting her is because that’s what he does to women, and they don’t die.”
Justice Tracey Walker told the jury the fact Pou did not give or call evidence is not important, as the burden of proof is on the Crown.
To find him guilty of murder, the jury must be sure Pou meant to kill Simmonds, or he meant to cause bodily injury which he knew was likely to cause her death and ran the risk that she could die.
Justice Walker told the jury the fact this is a retrial is not relevant.
The jury of seven men and four women retired to consider the verdict at 11.23am.