Jury shown Macdonald police interview
Mon, 18 Jun 2012 10:52a.m.
By Lloyd Burr
The jury in the Scott Guy murder trial is watching a video of police questioning Ewen Macdonald the day he was arrested.
Macdonald was taken in for questioning over the murder of his brother-in-law on April 7, 2011 where he denied any involvement in the theft of a neighbour’s deer and burning down an old farm house on the back of removal trucks.
In the video, played to the jury at the High Court in Wellington today, Detective Laurie Howell asks Macdonald to be honest with the police.
Mr Howell brings up one of Macdonald’s friends and previous farm workers - Callum Boe - and asks him if he could have been responsible. Macdonald says “Nah, he wouldn’t have the balls to do that”.
“You clearly deny any involvement in the theft of the deer?,” Mr Howell asks, to which Macdonald answers “Yep, yep”.
In relation to the arson, Macdonald provides an alibi for the time it took place.
“We were having breakfast and [Bryan Guy] turns up and says the McKinnon house has been burnt.”
“We had slept right through it, there were engines that were screaming up the road but we slept right through it.”
Mr Howell asks Macdonald if he is responsible for the arson of the house.
“Nah,” Macdonald said.
“I want to help Scott and Kylee get their dream.”
Police detail day of arrest
Mr Howell says he arrived at the Macdonald house around 8am on the morning of April 7, 2011.
The accused, Macdonald, was eating a bowl of Weetbix, which he was allowed to finish before being taken to Palmerston North police station.
Mr Howell says he explained to Macdonald the arrest was in relation to the theft of a neighbour’s deer, the vandalism to Mr Guy’s house and the murder of Mr Guy.
Macdonald was read his rights in the police officer’s car, which included being allowed to consult with a lawyer.
Mr Howell says Macdonald told him that “made him nervous”.
Macdonald denied knowledge of graffiti
Police investigating his shooting asked Macdonald about the arson of an old house on Mr Guy's property, and vandalism of a new house during its construction, when holes were smashed in the house and swear words aimed at Mr Guy's wife, Kylee, were painted on its exterior.
In an interview in February last year, Detective Glen Jackson asked Macdonald about the graffiti, the court heard.
"He said that he'd seen that writing when he came back from (a trip to) Ruakaka," Mr Jackson told the court.
Macdonald told police he did not recognise the handwriting in the graffiti, which had been painted with a brush.
Mr Jackson told the court he discussed the graffiti, which had a distinctive "u" and "k", with both Macdonald and his wife, Anna - who is Mr Guy's sister.
Macdonald last year pleaded guilty to both the arson and wilful damage, but denies killing Mr Guy.
Scott Guy’s widow ‘couldn’t go back’
Mr Guy’s widow Kylee couldn’t bring herself to continue living in the house the pair built, lived in and planned to raise their family in, the court heard.
Bryan Guy says Kylee moved out of the house at 295 Aorangi Rd straight after her husband, Bryan Guy’s son, was murdered at the end of their driveway.
“Kylee couldn’t go back at all to live there.
“The week after Scott died, she would have gone back to her parents’ in the Hawke’s Bay,” he recalled to the court.
He says the house was sold a year later in July 2011.
Scott and Kylee’s home has been a focus of the trial, especially regarding the damage done to it by Macdonald during its construction.
Macdonald admitted to police last year that he was responsible for vandalising the house and painting explicit messages on the exterior. The Crown argues he did it to scare Ms Guy and drive the duo off the farm.
He also admitted to burning down the old farm houses that were in the process of being relocated to make way for the new house which was later built on the site.
Macdonald denies problems with Guy
Macdonald said he and his brother-in-law got along well and denies the pair had problems when they attended a farming conference in Invercargill two weeks before the murder.
Macdonald’s police statement was read to the High Court in Wellington this morning, where he is on trial for murder – a charge which he denies.
The statement details the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) the pair attended between June 21 and 23, 2010, two weeks before Mr Guy was found shot dead at the end of his driveway.
Macdonald said they stayed together at a motel, ordered in meals every night and watched TV together.
“We didn’t have any problems,” he said. “We left wanting the same things for the farm.”
Macdonald said they were looking at auto cup removers to cut labour costs and even a foray into share milking. He said they needed new ways to generate income and reduce costs.
In his statement, Macdonald told police he didn’t drink any alcohol and hadn’t since he married Mr Guy’s sister Anna.
“I didn’t drink alcohol since my stag night when Scotty took me out and got me really drunk,” he said.
Macdonald received payrise after Scott’s death
Macdonald received a pay rise after Scott Guy was murdered because of his increased responsibility on the family farm.
Mr Guy’s father is giving evidence to the High Court in Wellington about the farm finances.
He says Macdonald’s salary was increased by $10,000 or more after Mr Guy was found murdered at the end of his driveway in 2010.
“We slowly changed the way he was being paid... that reflected his increased responsibility,” he told the court.
Macdonald is charged with murdering My Guy and the Crown argues he did it because he didn’t like Mr Guy’s increasing presence on the farm and the direction he wanted to take the farm.
The court has heard that Macdonald used to secretly look at the pay rates of employees on the farm computer. His wife Anna said he Macdonald had noticed that Mr Guy was earning more then him based on the hours worked and that bothered him.
Scott expressed concern at Macdonald’s competitiveness
Mr Guy had expressed concern about the level of competition with his brother-in-law before his murder.
Dariy farming business consultant David Beca gave evidence this morning about the finances of the Guy family farm and the roles of both Mr Guy and his murder-accused.
Both men were shareholders in the farm.
Mr Beca was hired by Mr Guy’s father Bryan to come up with a ‘strategic growth’ plan for the business. He met individually with Macdonald and Mr Guy to hear their concerns about the farm.
Mr Beca says Mr Guy voiced concerns about the level of competition with Macdonald and its effect on the business.
“The risk was the communication that had not been good needed to improve ...Competition between him and Ewen was mentioned as a concern,” he says.
Mr Beca told the court that Macdonald’s dairying side of the business brought in the majority of the revenue to the farm whereas Mr Guy’s cropping and drystock side didn’t.
One of the issues Mr Beca was tasked with was creating a management structure on the family’s Byreburn Farm that was equal so there weren’t too many bosses.
He says both Macdonald and Mr Guy were very keen to understand all areas of the business and get a full involvement with management.
“Scott mentioned that he did not want to disappoint his father,” he added.
The issue of competition between Mr Guy and Macdonald was raised last week by Mr Guy’s former flatmate Andrew Short.
“I found their partnership interesting” he said. “One would get a new tattoo and the other would… or one would get a new car and the other would get a new car.
“There was competition to be better than the other one,” said Mr Short.
He said the relationship between Macdonald and Guy was “hot and cold”
Mr Guy was shot dead at the end of his driveway on July 8, 2010.
Macdonald has denied the charge of murder.
The trial is in its third week.
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