The spouse accused of homicide feared infidelity and “needed to make him endure,” based on the court docket
The wife of a murdered Canterbury dairy farmer, who denies his murder, angrily told relative strangers days before his death that he had been unfaithful to her bridesmaid and that she “wanted to make him suffer,” a court heard today.
Dairy farmer Tony Grant Waldron, 29, was found dead at his home in Gardiners Rd, Rakaia, 45 minutes south of Christchurch, on September 18, 2019 after failing to show up for the 5.30am milking.
After a massive murder investigation, Waldron’s wife Alana Jane Bamber, 35, and her cousin Joshua Dylan Morris-Bamber, 28, have been charged with the murder.
They deny Waldron’s murder and are on trial in the High Court in Christchurch.
Morris-Bamber’s defense attorney Anne Stevens KC said yesterday the Crown’s alleged four-minute window that he allegedly murdered Waldron in his sleep was “simply not credible”.
Today, bridesmaid Alana Wilson denied any improper relationship with Waldron and said the allegations of an affair in court were “complete, 100 percent not true.”
“I loved him like a brother and that was it.”
Two other witnesses told the jury that Bamber had been “angry” at Waldron days before the murder and claimed he had been having an affair.
Belinda Jane Rosewarne shared how she offered board games for sale on a local Facebook page for buy and sell during the week of September 9, 2019, to which Bamber responded.
They spoke about the award over Facebook Messenger before Bamber revealed her husband was cheating on her and that she wasn’t getting on well.
Rosewarne agreed to drop off the board games at the couple’s Rakaia dairy farm, only to find two “crazy” dogs barking and Bamber in her pajamas late one morning.
The house was “unusually hot” and smelly, messy and dirty, the witness said.
Bamber started speaking out again about her husband’s infidelity and is “really angry,” Rosewarne said, saying he ruined her life.
She said she “hated him and wanted to make him suffer,” Rosewarne said.
Bamber is also said to have said Waldron was lucky she didn’t kill him.
After half an hour, Rosewarne heard a motorbike coming and decided to leave.
Rosewarne, who had never met Bamber before, found the situation bizarre.
“She was crazy,” she said.
“Things weren’t right from the start. It was just angry the whole time I was there.”
A preschool teacher also stated that on September 12, 2019 — six days before the alleged murder — she spoke to Bamber, who was “very upset and angry” and “opened up that Tony was having an affair” with someone at her wedding party.
She found Bamber “free”, staring into space, wanting to throw Waldron out of the house and keep her children.
The Crown said yesterday Waldron and Bamber broke up days before the murder.
On the night of September 17, the City Hotel’s chef, Morris-Bamber, went for an after-work drink and then visited Bamber at Gloucester Street, Christchurch’s flat where she was staying.
They talked for about 15 minutes, according to Crown.
Then, around 11pm, Morris-Bamber sent a Facebook message to Bamber, which was allegedly seen by a witness and allegedly said: “What’s Tony’s address? I need to get rid of some trouble.”
The key piece of evidence – which Morris-Bamber denies – could not be retrieved because both murder suspects allegedly erased content from their phones.
Family members allegedly tried to stop Morris-Bamber from going to Waldron’s property that night, but Bamber is accused of telling them to leave him, adding: “Better one life than two”.
Waldron went to bed around 12:56 that night after playing an online video game.
The Crown alleges Morris-Bamber drove south on SH1 to Waldron’s farm for about 45 minutes, with cellphone data and CCTV from NZTA cameras recording his movements.
His car, the Crown says, was hijacked at 12:56 am while passing a golf course heading towards Gardiners Rd.
The same car passes the same golf course again at 1:04 am and heads back to Rakaia.
With driving time, the Crown says Morris-Bamber had “at least four minutes” at Waldron’s house, which they said was “ample time” to go inside and fatally attack him while he slept.
A post-mortem indicates that Waldron was hit at least three times in the side of the head, ear and neck by a solid weapon.
Waldron suffered a fractured skull – dislodging a 4cm x 2cm fragment of bone – along with several other cracks and a broken jaw.
Morris-Bamber hurried away, the Crown claims, pausing briefly to hide “forensically important items” such as the murder weapon and bloodied clothing that he would later allegedly move again. They would never be found, the court heard.
His attorney Stevens says the scenario of the crowning a four-minute window is “simply not believable” and questioned the lack of any traces of blood in his car.
Bamber’s defense attorney Kerry Cook says she wasn’t there when her husband died – and doesn’t know what happened. She did not want Waldron dead or injured, and “whatever happened was not her wish, not her involvement, not her wish, not her design”.
The trial before Judge Gerald Nation continues.
– By Kurt Bayer