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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Murder accused suspected ex of abusing daughter

2-27-2009 New Zealand:

The woman accused of the body-on-the-bonnet murder decided to kill her ex-partner because she suspected him of molesting their little daughter, a Crown lawyer told the High Court in New Plymouth yesterday.

Cindy Fairburn, 38, is alleged to have deliberately driven into the path of an oncoming car as Darin Paul Maxwell, 42, clung on to the bonnet.

The story of the 13km wild, crazy ride on State Highway 3 on August 6, 2007 unfolded in the High Court in New Plymouth yesterday.

The impact with the Isuzu was so severe, Mr Maxwell was flung from the bonnet and through the windscreen of the Isuzu.

His extensive injuries included bleeding lungs, a foot almost amputated, fractured legs and a deep cut on his shoulder.

Mr Maxwell died in the ambulance on the way to Taranaki Base Hospital.

The Isuzu's driver also suffered life-threatening injuries but survived after weeks in hospital.

Fairburn herself was knocked unconscious and critically injured, spending 15 weeks in hospital.

An infection resulted in a return to hospital where a leg was amputated.

Fairburn, who quietly wept as the jury trial started yesterday, has denied murdering her former partner and dangerous driving injuring the Isuzu driver, whose name is suppressed.

Fairburn's lawyers argue that her actions on the night were solely those of a woman defending herself from Mr Maxwell.

In opening, Crown prosecutor Cherie Clarke said Fairburn had been angry and upset since the Saturday before the fatal impact.

In response to her child's unusual cry after she was put to bed, Fairburn had gone in to her baby's room to find her tucked up in her cot, but without nappies and her nappy and pants neatly folded at the end of the cot.

In her mind, he had sexually abused their two-year-old daughter, Miss Clarke said.

The accused told others she wanted to either poison him or use a stun gun.

She reported the incident to police, taking them a cot sheet, hairs she said were pubic hairs she had found on the floor next to the cot and the underblanket so they could use them as evidence.

When told by police that Mr Maxwell would not be arrested immediately, she was angered, saying he should not be allowed to get away with it.

The accused had told a friend that if police were not going to do anything, she would.

On the Monday, the baby was examined by a paediatrician who found no evidence of a sexual assault and ESR tests weeks later found no evidence of semen on the baby's bedding, Miss Clarke said.

That night, she encountered Mr Maxwell at the Heritage Bar in Inglewood.

She had left the bar and he had somehow ended up on the bonnet of her car, Miss Clarke said.

Other drivers on the road that night described how Mr Maxwell was slipping and sliding across the bonnet as she veered across the white line on the main road in Inglewood, cars on the opposite side having to steer hard left to avoid her.

She then drove at speeds up to 120kmh on the open road with Mr Maxwell still clinging to the bonnet, Ms Clarke said.

At 9.53pm, nearly at the Mangorei Rd intersection, she suddenly and violently swerved her car directly into the path of the Isuzu which was travelling towards Inglewood, Miss Clarke said.

At the time, the accused's car was estimated to be travelling between 83 and 133kmh.

Weeks later, Fairburn told police that she had got a fright when he jumped on the bonnet outside the hotel yelling and screaming.

She had not wanted to stop the car in case he jumped into the car.

She said she had no memory of the collision.

The couple's history included a charge of Mr Maxwell threatening to kill her and the toddler in 2006.

But she withdrew her allegations saying she was concerned about his suicidal tendencies and she was charged with making a false statement.

Mr Maxwell had been convicted of assaults against two other women in 2002.

Defence lawyer Pamela Jensen said self-defence would be argued.

The accused did not murder Mr Maxwell nor did she intend to injure the Isuzu driver.

When she drove her car that night, the sole purpose was to defend herself against the actions of Mr Maxwell, Ms Jensen said. ..News Source.. by LYN HUMPHREYS

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