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CHARGE OF MURDER SEQUEL TO WOMAN'S DEATH O.C. TE KUITi, this day. After the taking of evidence on a charge against him of murdering Mrs. Lois Ypres Fitzgerald, aged 25, at Te Kuiti on July 22, Keith Bennett, driver, aged 22 (Mr. W. W. King), entered a plea of not guilty before justices of the neace yesterday and was committer to the Supreme Court in Hamilton for trial. Twelve witnesses for the. prosecution were heard.

Constable Reid stated that about 1 a.m. on July 22, he was awakened by loud knocking. On opening his door he saw the accused standing in the porch. Asked what was his trouble the accused said: "I have just shot a woman. She is under Anderson's hedge." Witness then asked accused if it had been an accident and he replied: "No, I done it intentionally. I found her under the hedge in company with another man. so I shot her." Witness then asked accused if he had killed her, and he replied, "Yes, I think so." He added that he had been keeping company with the woman for about three months.

The accused appeared to be in a highly agitated state. He said he had thrown the gun away and indicated that it was the lane leading from Rata Street. He then took a live cartridge from his pocket and handed it to witness. The accused stated that he had obtained the gun from Kelly Hetet's place, where he was staving.

Witness was present at the police station when Sergeant Gatehouse informed the accused that he would be charged with attempted murder. The accused replied, "I done it; there is not much else I can say."

"That Is The Ejirl Of It" Sergeant Gatehouse gave corroborative evidence. When he learned that Lois Fitzgerald was dead, witness said he told accused he would be charged with murder. Accused did not reply immediately, but a few seconds later said, "That is the end of it."

Wetere Hetet. borough council employee, said accused lived with him. He had met Bennett on July 21 at 7 p.m. and arranged to secure some beer. Eight or ten drank the beer at H. T. Barton's house. This was finished before 10 p.m. All were merry, but no one was drunk. When he left Barton's house at 10.15 p.m. Bennett had come outside with him.

Harry Tearoha Barton, borough employee, a Maori, said that after football on arriving home at about 5 p.m. he learned that five gallons of beer had been brought to his place. About 7.30 there were about eight or more persons in the house and the whole five gallons was consumed before 10 p.m. Most of the party were merry, but no one was drunk. Accused left the house with the crowd about 10 p.m. Dr. L. R. de Castro said Mrs. Fitzgerald died in hospital at S a.m. on July 22. Death was causfed bv gunshot wounds penetrating the heart.

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Bibliographic details

SENT FOR TRIAL, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 187, 9 August 1945

Word Count

SENT FOR TRIAL Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 187, 9 August 1945

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