Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Anatomy of a murder

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A quaint expression once used when a young lady weds a man considered not to be her equal was that ‘she’d married below her station.’ In today’s egalitarian society the saying has all but disappeared from the vernacular, but I’m going to reinstate it by suggesting that Millie Elder-Holmes married below her station.

Except of course she didn’t marry Connor Morris; she was merely his partner.

Back in the good old days when the ‘below her station’ was in common usage “partners” were usually people you went into business with.

Videos at the housewarming party Ms Elder-Homes and Mr Morris were attending, taken just prior to the altercation that eventuated in his demise, show Morris verbally abusing his attractive partner and gesturing towards her in a frightening manner.

It’s hard to understand how some women find this sort of behaviour appealing.

The late Mr Morris had taken on celebrity status simply by his association with Ms Elder-Homes and as a result the trial of the man accused and eventually convicted of murdering him dominated our TV newscasts nightly over recent weeks.

The accused, Michael Murray, who had used a sickle on a pole to strike his victim, was seen each day sitting in the dock looking for all the world like a possum caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.

I couldn’t blame him. Connor Morris was a prominent member of Auckland’s feared Head-Hunter’s gang. There are apparently over a hundred Head-Hunter gang members languishing in our ghastly jails.

The trial was something of an insight into modern Auckland society. Michael Murray had spent the day of the murder at theme park Rainbows End with two of his children aged 10 and 12 from a previous “relationship”. He took them back to a sleepout he often used at his sister’s home at 401 Don Buck Road where they had takeaways for tea, then played Guitar Hero on PlayStation. Murray’s present partner lives at another address, not disclosed for fear of reprisals, with their three-month-old daughter.

After playing Guitar Hero Murray smoked cannabis with his brother in an adjoining sleepout.

We hear a lot about our low-waged economy, but Mr Murray, a labourer who mainly builds retaining walls, can afford a day at Rainbow’s End, takeaways, a PlayStation and smoke cannabis while presumably paying child support for his two older children.

Meanwhile at 425 Don Buck Road Connor and Millie were at a housewarming party at his sister Cymmion’s home when some of the guests decided to go to get some pineapple juice to replenish their cocktails from a service station down the road. Connor wanted cigarettes so they agreed to buy those as well. They bumped into guests from a 21st birthday party bash at 403c Don Buck Road which was next door to where Mr Murray was entertaining his children and smoking cannabis.

The rest, as they say, is history.

From the comfort of my living room I had concluded that Murray was guilty of manslaughter rather than murder. The jury of course heard more than I did and decided otherwise.

But then again a jury is really just twelve people chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.

“Murderers are really very agreeable clients. I do think murderers get a very bad press.” - John Mortimer


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