Crown: 5 involved in Invercargill teen's death

Five people are accused of playing a part in the death of an Invercargill teenager who died from...
Five people are accused of playing a part in the death of an Invercargill teenager who died from stab or cut wounds. Photo: ODT files
At about 10.30pm on 7 June last year, Invercargill teenager Jack McAllister and his friend Braydon Mckay made their way to Stadium Southland.

Mr McAllister was going there on the promise of sex from a young woman.

About 30 minutes later the pair left Stadium Southland, but the mood had taken a dramatic turn.

"Jack McAllister is again the passenger of the vehicle - only now he is bleeding," Crown prosecutor Riki Donnelly told the court during the Crown's opening today.

"He has 14 external stab or cut wounds and from those wounds he will die in the early hours of the 8th of June, 2017."

That much is accepted, but what took place and who holds responsibility will be decided in the coming five weeks in the High Court in Invercargill.

Christopher Brown, Laura Scheepers, Natasha Ruffell, David Wilson and a 24-year-old woman with interim name suppression all stand accused of Mr McAllister's murder.

The Crown accepted none of the five on trial were responsible for the stab wounds which ultimately ended the 19-year-old's life.

Brayden Whiting-Roff has already pleaded guilty to murder and wielded the knife.

A teenage girl, who has interim name suppression, has also pleaded guilty to her part in the attack and will appear as a Crown witness during the trial.

But the Crown contends the other five played some role in what took place on that winter night in Invercargill last year.

"It's the Crown's case that each of the five defendants in this trial played a part in and are responsible for the murder of Jack McAllister," Mr Donnelly said.

"The Crown alleges that each of the defendants was a party to the murder of Mr McAllister.

"Whether it was providing a car that the group drove to the stadium in. Whether it was driving the car. Whether it was holding back Braydon Mckay from assisting Jack McAllister.

"Be it encouraging the others through actions or words, adding to the weight of numbers at the scene or luring Jack McAllister to the stadium seeking to lull him into a false sense of security to make him happy before the group set upon him."

The Crown said the group knew Mr McAllister, some were friends with him, and Mr Brown had known him since they were children and was a relative, but there was significant animosity from prominent members over their belief he acted inappropriately towards females - some members of the group and others they knew or knew about.

At 8.29pm on the day of the attack, Whiting-Roff posted on Facebook: "I don't give a f*** no more. Who has been traumatised by Jack McAllister? Comment down below and tell me what he's done. I already know a few things. I've already sorted him out once, I'm going to f*** him up this time. IDGAF what anyone says he is worth going to jail. Pigs aren't doing anything so I will catch you up Jack."

The Crown alleged Mr Brown responded "Hard my G".

About two-and-a-half hours later, Whiting-Roff fatally stabbed Mr McAllister in the Stadium Southland carpark.

The Crown contends he was lured there by Miss Scheepers.

"Hey, keen to f***," is the message the Crown alleged she sent to Mr McAllister.

"This the Crown says was the first message and the start of what was a very purposeful effort to lure Jack McAllister to a secluded area with the promise of sex, where he would be vulnerable," Mr Donnelly said.

She messaged him to arrange such a meeting at Stadium Southland at 11pm, Mr Donnelly said.

The Crown claimed Miss Scheepers then exchanged messages with Mr Brown outlining when the group should arrive and that she needed time to make Mr McAllister comfortable or he would leave.

The rest of the group had by then gathered at one of the defendant's homes, where Whiting-Roff produced a knife and said "he's going to ... stab Jack McAllister", Mr Donnelly said.

At the house Whiting-Roff wielded the knife and told his associates Mr McAllister was "a rapist" and had molested children.

"Whiting-Roff is flicking it [the knife] around, shadow boxing and pretending to cut and stab," Mr Donnelly said.

"All those present will know what he intended to do when they got to Stadium Southland later that night."

The Crown accepted Miss Ruffell was not present at Stadium Southland during the attack - and, in fact, was home at the time - but allege she allowed her car to be used by the rest of the group with the knowledge of what would happen.

The Crown's opening came in the mid-afternoon after an extraordinary jury empanelling process.

At one point a jury of 12 was selected only for it to emerge, after an adjournment, that two of them were known by one of the defendants and two others had personal matters which meant they were unable to fulfill their duties.

Almost 80 potential jurors were called before the court over more than two hours.

Justice Rachel Dunningham told the court it was by far "the longest jury empanelling process I have ever seen", with 46 potential jurors excused and another 19 challenged by the defence and Crown.

The trial will resume tomorrow when the five defence teams will be given an opportunity to present their opening statements.

A jury of seven women and five men will hear the evidence, with the trial set down for five weeks.

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