Man accused of murdering autistic boy found dead

ONE News can now confirm a Christchurch man accused of murdering his five-year-old autistic stepson is dead.

James Roberts' death has been referred to the Coroner.

The 35-year-old was found dead at his father's property in Riccarton yesterday.

Roberts was on electronically-monitored bail at the address, awaiting his trial which was set to begin on October 31.

His stepson, Leon Jayet-Cole, was rushed to Christchurch Hospital with serious head injuries in May last year.

He died in hospital the next day.

Leon Jayet-Cole.



View: Kiwi barbershop chorus stuns global audience with spine-tingling haka

New Zealand's very own barbershop chorus, Vocal FX have stunned a highly-rated international barbershop competition with an incredible funk and haka combo.

 

The Wellington-based act dished up the performance to an international audience last Friday at the Barbershop Harmony Society's 2016 International Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Beating out a host of American acts as well as the only Australian team in attendance, they eventually finished sixth.

Their funk and haka combination was a huge hit, with the crowd delivering deafening applause.

The haka came after a line change in their song from, "living in America" to "living in New Zealand." 

A video of the performance was posted to YouTube on Sunday and already has nearly 5000 views.  


Topics

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Fight that led to death of promising rugby league player started 'over a girl', murder trial hears

The High Court in Auckland has heard from both of the boys involved in a fight before teenager Luke Tipene was fatally stabbed in the neck.

Luke, a talented rugby league player, died following a brawl in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn in November 2014.

Vincent Skeen is accused of stabbing the 17-year-old league star to death outside a party last year.
Source: 1 NEWS

The Crown claims Luke, 17, was called to the party by his cousin and became involved in a fight with Vincent Skeen.

The Crown claims Skeen became enraged after being struck twice by Luke. Skeen has pleaded not guilty to murder.

The court has heard that Skeen swung at Luke with a broken bottle leaving a 10 -15 centimetre gash on his neck, piercing his jugular.

Luke's cousin, Taine Eason Tipene, told the court he was with Luke and Nadene Manukau-Tongiavalu when they received a message and calls from a friend that there was a fight after the party.

Under cross examination Mr Tipene said their intention for going to the party was to pick up a friend not "for back up".

Vincent Skeen, 18, is again facing court over the death of Luke Tipene in 2014, after a jury failed to reach a verdict last year. Source: 1 NEWS

Two boys involved in the fight, who ONE News can't name, told the court the fight started because "it was over a girl" and others jumped in.

Mr Tipene said Luke Tipene punched Skeen after Skeen became involved in a "one on one".

He told the court following Luke's punch the defendant appeared to be in "la la land".

"You needed both hands to fight"

Skeen's lawyer, Michele Wilkinson-Smith, disputed the boys were going to the party to pick up a friend because Taine Tipene gave his phone to Ms Manukau-Togiavalu.

"You gave it to Nadene because you were going to get involved in the fight and you needed both hands to fight," she said.

Mr Tipene responded: "No I would've lost it".

Earlier today the defence counsel challenged a young women who witnessed Luke being stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle.

Nadene Manukau-Togiavalu, 20, gave evidence for the second time, but lawyers acting for Skeen, say her evidence has changed.

Detective Constable Ray Fa'aofo found Luke Tipene bleeding heavily on a central Auckland street and tried in vain to help him. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Manukau-Togiavalu said different questions triggered different memories and she had just seen her "cousin being stabbed".

At times the witness became emotional, when asked why she was upset by the Crown she said she felt she had let [Luke] down.

"He was my little cousin and I was supposed to look after him," she said.

The trial continues.