Jury hears final arguments in murder trial

Rodney Stuart Fallowfield. Photo: Luisa Girao
Rodney Stuart Fallowfield. Photo: Luisa Girao
A jury will begin deliberations today to decide whether Balclutha man Rodney Fallowfield killed or injured his wife Shirley Reedy intentionally, after Justice Jan-Marie Doogue sums up the case this morning.

Fallowfield admits he killed his wife at the Explorer Motel in Te Anau on May 15 last year, but his defence is he did not mean to do so.

Jurors heard closing addresses from Crown solicitor Riki Donnelly and defence counsel Peter Redpath in the High Court at Invercargill yesterday.

Mr Donnelly said the desire to make Ms Reedy quiet did not mean Fallowfield did not intend to kill her.

"The two are not mutually exclusive."

Fallowfield getting on top of Ms Reedy and wrapping his hands around her neck — the most vulnerable part of the body — showed intent, Mr Donnelly said.

"Strangling someone is what you want to do to stop them breathing; that is why a person strangles another."

During his closing address, Mr Donnelly made the jury sit for 10 seconds to show how long it could have taken Ms Reedy to die.

Bruises on her body and abrasions on Fallowfield’s showed the fight she had put up, he said.

"It was a dynamic struggle but although Ms Reedy fought for her life he was able to overcome that and what does that say about his intent?"

Fallowfield’s actions after he strangled her, not attempting CPR and not calling for help, were also given as evidence of intent.

Mr Redpath said Fallowfield accepted, without reservation, he was guilty of manslaughter.

"He will forever have to live with what he did, that he is responsible, that he killed his wife," Mr Redpath said.

"All he wanted to do that day was to make her quiet.

"He wanted her to stop calling out ‘rape, rape, rape’."

Fallowfield had gone to the police when Ms Reedy had made previous false allegations of rape, Mr Redpath said.

On the day of Ms Reedy’s death, she and Fallowfield had had an argument, and that was when she said she was going to accuse him of rape again, Mr Redpath said.

"As he later reflected, he should’ve just walked away."

The time it had taken to kill her was probably a bit more than 10 seconds according to evidence from Canterbury District Health Board forensic pathologist Leslie Anderson, Mr Redpath said.

"So what we have here is something that’s probably a bit more than 10 seconds but it’s certainly not prolonged too far beyond that because you haven’t got the signs you would see."

Dr Anderson’s evidence that a shunt placed in Ms Reedy’s brain, her schizophrenia, her medication for schizophrenia, and the fact she had been drinking alcohol could have caused death sooner was also relevant, Mr Redpath said.

When Fallowfield tucked her into bed, cuddled her and told her he was sorry after her death it showed he was being remorseful and respectful, he said.

"This is not someone who that has cold-heartedly murdered someone and then thought ‘what am I going to do with the body?’."




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