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Victim needed to 'watch herself' murderer accused allegedly said hours before killing

Author
Kurt Bayer,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 May 2023, 1:55PM
David Hawken denies murder and is standing trial at the High Court in Christchurch. Photo / George Heard
David Hawken denies murder and is standing trial at the High Court in Christchurch. Photo / George Heard

Victim needed to 'watch herself' murderer accused allegedly said hours before killing

Author
Kurt Bayer,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 May 2023, 1:55PM

A debt collector and gang associate allegedly said that Angela Blackmoore needed to “watch herself” and “keep her mouth shut” just hours before she was brutally murdered 28 years ago, a court heard today.

Ex-debt collector David Hawken, 50, and ex-stripper Rebecca Wright-Meldrum, 51, are standing trial for murder at the High Court in Christchurch.

They both deny any part in Blackmoore’s death on August 17, 1995 and have pleaded not guilty.

For 25 years the case went unsolved before police suddenly received fresh information in 2019 and Jeremy Crinis James Powell was arrested.

He pleaded guilty and was jailed for at least 10 years for bludgeoning and stabbing Blackmoore 39 times.

The Crown alleges that Hawken ordered Powell – who will be a key Crown witness in the case - to carry out the hit, offering to pay $10,000, while Wright-Meldrum, a close friend and ex-lover of Blackmoore, helped him gain entry to her house.

David Hawken and Rebecca Wright-Meldrum both deny murder and are standing trial at the High Court in Christchurch. Photo / George Heard

David Hawken and Rebecca Wright-Meldrum both deny murder and are standing trial at the High Court in Christchurch. Photo / George Heard

Today, Alick Hutt gave evidence about dropping his boarder Sharon Ritchie off at a Cashel St house where she worked for Hawken’s debt collection business.

The property was owned by Angela Blackmoore and her estranged husband William Blackmoore. Hawken lived there with William Blackmoore and ran his firm out of a front room.

Hutt said he dropped Ritchie off on August 17, 1995 – the day of the murder – and he spoke to Hawken in the living room.

He claimed that Hawken seemed “quite aggravated for some reason”.

Angela Blackmoore was 21 when she died at her home in August 1995. Photo / Supplied

Angela Blackmoore was 21 when she died at her home in August 1995. Photo / Supplied

Hutt alleged that Hawken said to him: “Angela needs to watch herself and keep her mouth shut or she could be in trouble one day.”

There was a short gap, Hutt told the court, before Hawken asked: “What’s Laurie doing tonight?”

Blackmoore’s partner Laurie Anderson earlier told the jury of being called in to work a late shift at the University of Canterbury library and caoming home to find her bloodied and lifeless body.

Hutt said he replied to Hawken: “It’s Thursday. Laurie will have the library tonight.”

Six days after Blackmoore’s murder, Hutt was interviewed by police but failed to mention the interaction with Hawken.

Laurie Anderson arrives at court. Photo / George Heard

Laurie Anderson arrives at court. Photo / George Heard

Under cross-examination by Hawken’s defence counsel, Anne Stevens KC, Hutt accepted that he didn’t mention the alleged chat to police until 2003 despite many conversations about the murder over the years with close family members – including Anderson, who was his half-brother.

Stevens told Hutt he was wrong – denying that Hawken even asked about Anderson that day.

But Hutt told the court: “I’ve had to live with that for 20-odd years. The thought that I’ve told somebody that she would be home alone [...] that night.”

Hutt further claimed that about 1-3 weeks earlier, Hawken had allegedly said he had been “negotiating” with Angela about property “on behalf of William Blackmoore”.

“I believed that he was involved because he was looking at taking over the house,” he said today.

“He had done quite a bit of work having all the floors polished and all that, spending money ya know, so he was definitely wanting the house, if he could get it.”

The Crown alleges that from “early on” Hawken had an eye on the financial benefit of the Blackmoores’ two properties – at Cashel St and a section on Ferry Rd – and wanted to use them and his own assets to secure loans for future business ventures, including a multimillion-dollar property development at Moncks Spur, Redcliffs, while also looking to set up a telecommunications business.

The murder went unsolved for more than two decades before Powell was arrested in 2019 after police offered a then-record $100,000 reward.

Wright-Meldrum’s defence counsel Stephanie Grieve KC suggested to the jury earlier that the key issue for them was whether Powell is “credible and reliable” when he says Wright-Meldrum was with him when he murdered Blackmoore.

Stevens also earlier said that Hawken had nothing to do with Blackmoore’s murder and that he had “no wish that she die”.

Hawken had no motive, no money and no power to order a murder, his defence team say.

The four-week trial before Justice Cameron Mander continues.

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