Doubt cast over domestic violence allegations of murder defendant days before husband’s death


Doubts have been cast over the legitimacy of an incident of domestic violence between a murder defendant and her husband just days before he was killed.

A colleague found Tony Grant Waldron, a dairy farmer from Rakaia, Canterbury, dead in his bed on the morning of September 18, 2019, after he failed to show up for an early morning cow milking.

Joshua Dylan Morris-Bamber, 28, and his cousin, Waldron’s ex-wife Alana Jane Bamber, 35, are on trial in Christchurch High Court charged with his murder. Friday is the third day of the trial.

A call to 111 from Bamber on September 14, 2019 was broadcast to the jury on Friday. During the call, she alleged that she was “thrown into the laundry room” by Waldron and punched in the stomach.

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“My husband has just attacked me in front of my children”, can we hear Bamber say to the respondent of 111.

Bamber told the Respondent that she did not need an ambulance.

She said Waldron had a “personality disorder” and “no one can think he’s not a nice guy”.

Rakaia’s lead agent, Trevor Gurney, responded to the incident. He said Bamber complained of stomach pains, but paramedics saw no visible injuries.

St John’s paramedic Emily Wood said she expected to find injuries based on Bamber’s account of what happened, but found no visible injuries or marks.

Joshua Dylan Morris-Bamber is charged with the murder of his cousin Tony Grant Waldron's husband in Rakaia on September 18, 2019.

John Kirk-Anderson / Stuff

Joshua Dylan Morris-Bamber is charged with the murder of his cousin Tony Grant Waldron’s husband in Rakaia on September 18, 2019.

Wood said Bamber reported being punched and thrown into furniture more than once.

Before the appeal went to court, Eilish Brook, a mutual friend of Waldron and Bamber, said Bamber told her she had a concussion, separated ribs, a cracked back and that she was urinating blood after the alleged assault.

Brook said she did not observe any of these injuries when she saw Bamber a day later.

“From what she said, she shouldn’t have been released from the hospital, but from the observation, there was nothing wrong with her.”

Brook said she spoke with Waldron soon after, and he was “upset” and “hurt.”

“He told me she’s done this before, made a big mountain out of a molehill, causing heartache out of nothing.”

The domestic incident allegedly happened after Waldron received a video of Bamber at a party the night before, getting ‘close’ to the party host and other men.

He texted her, “Don’t be here when I get home.”

Bamber was still there when he returned and the couple argued. The police were called, the court was heard.

Judge Gerald Nation is presiding over the jury trial at the High Court in Christchurch.  (File photo).

Alden Williams / Stuff

Judge Gerald Nation is presiding over the jury trial at the High Court in Christchurch. (File photo).

A police safety order was issued and Bamber was taken to hospital.

Waldron was found dead less than a week later.

At Waldron’s funeral, Bamber was “up and down” in mood, going from upset to indifferent within minutes, Brook said.

Although she didn’t notice anything definite, she felt that “something was definitely wrong.”

Brook said Waldron was “lovely, a good father and a good person”, while Bamber was “erratic, aggressive, dirty and lazy”.

Bamber is accused of instigating, facilitating and orchestrating the murder of her husband by giving his address to her cousin, Morris-Bamber, who is accused of carrying out the murder.

Both deny any involvement in Waldron’s death.

“What’s Tony’s address?” I need to let some anger out,” is an alleged unrecovered message Morris-Bamber sent to his cousin the night Waldron died.

The police then obtained a screenshot of the address on his phone, which was sent to him by Bamber.

Morris-Bamber traveled to Rakaia on the night of September 18, 2019 and delivered three fatal blows with a blunt weapon to Waldron’s skull, ear and neck, the Crown alleged in his opening speech.

That Morris-Bamber was there the night of the murder is proven by cell phone data and is not disputed by the defense.

Anne Stevens, KC, earlier said Morris-Bamber was there, but never went inside.

The murder weapon was never found.

The trial continues.

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