Comments Off on John Grant Cuthers, 29, and Andrew Parry Nicholson, 25, found guilty of murder of Lee McMurdo; Also pleaded guilty to supplying Methamphetamine and taking a car

The two men charged with the murder of West Auckland man Lee McMurdo have been found guilty.

John  Grant Cuthers, 29, and Andrew Parry Nicholson, 25, were arrested after a  13-month long investigation into McMurdo’s death, and today convicted  after a seven day trial at the High Court in Auckland.

McMurdo was  found dead by his 12-year-old daughter Lateasha at his rural home, 10km  south of Helensville on July 29, 2011, but it is believed he died on  the morning of July 27.

The 32-year-old was last seen alive on July 26, 2011, at 1.40pm.

The  trial started at the High Court in Auckland last week, where Cuthers  and Nicholson pleaded guilty to the other charges arising in the case –  of supplying methamphetamine and taking a car.

Both denied the murder charge.

At  the time of his death McMurdo is believed to have been dealing MDVP or  “bath salts” – a party drug that has had violent side effects on some  users overseas.

Last week Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery opened  with a summary of what police say happened to McMurdo in the early hours  of July 27, 2011.

Raftery said McMurdo was killed after Nicholson and Cuthers visited him on July 26 to supply him some methamphetamine.  

McMurdo  had begun taking the drug after his business began to struggle and his  marriage broke down. On this occasion he couldn’t pay for the drugs.  Instead, he offered the two men some pills to try.

Nicholson  refused, but Cuthers took some of the drugs, the substance known as  MDVP, a stimulant with psychoactive properties. The pair then left with  another friend.

The next the pair were heard from was two days  later, when, early on July 28, they turned up at a friend’s with a  carload of electronics.

The Crown says the property was taken from  McMurdo’s home when they returned early in the hours of July 27, robbed  him and killed him.

After failing to get rid of the stolen goods,  the pair travelled north to Nicholson’s family property, where they  “laid low” for some months, Raftery said.

Meanwhile, back in  Auckland, McMurdo’s daughter arrived at the home to find her father  dead. Despite her distress, she was able to point out that televisions,  an X-Box and other goods were missing from McMurdo’s home.

Raftery  said police had little to go on, but over the course of a year managed  to “put the pieces of the jigsaw together” and eventually arrested  Nicholson and Cuthers, separately.

During that time Nicholson made several incriminating statements to different people, Raftery said.

Nicholson  also said to another witness he “hadn’t meant” for McMurdo to die,  Raftery said, but added that did not mean it wasn’t murder.

“If you attack someone and you know what you’re doing to them could well kill them you are guilty of murder,” he said at the .

Sentencing will take place on 14 February 2014.

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