Axe attack murder trial: Victim was ‘praying for him to stop’, court hears

A man involved in a fight with Phillip Macpherson just minutes before he died recalled hearing him “pray for his life” while he was repeatedly struck with an axe.

The trial for Rydell Tauapiki Martin, 27, at Hamilton High Court continued today where he is defending a charge of murdering Phillip Macpherson with a wood-splitting axe in Pukemiro on March 1, 2019.

Martin says he’s not guilty of murder, but of manslaughter.

He also faces a second charge of assault with an axe against the latest witness Hanuere Fisher-Williams.

Fisher-William told the court this afternoon he had gone out onto the street near their family home after being told his younger brother Alazay was being beaten up by two men.

He bumped into Macpherson, who he knew through his neighbour, and they had got into a “bit of a scuffle” when Macpherson told him he should “make him squeal like he had made his dog squeal”.

“I wasn’t too happy about that. I just flipped,” Fisher-Williams said.

Fisher-Williams punched Macpherson, who swung back at him but missed.

He also kicked him, and as the two head-locked each other, they had tripped on the kerb and fell over, Fisher-Williams said.

He recalled being hit on the shoulder by an object being pulled out by his mum who had been trying to stop the fight.

As he crawled out from under him, he could hear Macpherson begging for Rydell who was standing over him swinging an axe to stop.

“Phillip was praying. Praying for him to stop. I could hear him saying ‘That’s enough, that’s enough. I’ve got kids’.”

He said Martin was using force as he swung the axe at Macpherson, who was lying on his back with his hands up.

He could tell others who had gathered on the street also telling Martin to stop – but he didn’t despite all the pleas.

In pain from being hit, Fisher-Williams returned to his bedroom in the Joseph St home where his baby was and was visited by Martin later that night.

He doesn’t recall what they spoke about, but said Martin seemed “happy”, the court heard.

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