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A former tai chi pupil of Nai Yin Xue says he remembered seeing a bruise underneath Xue's wife's right eye in 2004.
Graham McNamara was giving evidence at the trial of Xue, 55, who is charged with murdering his wife An An Liu in September 2007.
Ms Liu's body was found in the boot of Xue's car outside the family home in Keystone Ave, Mt Roskill. The Crown says Xue strangled her to death.
Xue's three-year-old daughter Qian Xun Xue, nicknamed Pumpkin, was found alone at Melbourne train station and Xue was arrested months later in the United States.
Mr McNamara said he developed a "training friendship" with Xue after beginning tai chi lessons in 1997.
He said he visited Xue's home on a number of occasions following Xue's marriage to Ms Liu in 2003, describing the relationship as "cold".
"There was no warmth in the house. There was no feeling."
Mr McNamara said Xue was the dominant figure in the relationship and would often ask his wife to leave the room.
He said he remembered seeing marks on Ms Liu's face twice in 2004.
On the first occasion he saw a red mark above her right eye, which he described in cross examination as "like a graze".
The mark he saw on the second occasion he described as a bruise.
"When Michael (Xue) left to go to the garage, I asked An if everything was okay," he told the court.
"She didn't really answer. She looked too frightened to answer."
Under cross examination, Mr McNamara said he didn't ask Xue about the bruise and had made assumptions about how it got there.
He said he stopped training with Xue after the pair fell out in late 2004 or early 2005.
The trial in the High Court at Auckland is into its second day and is expected to take three weeks.