Murder trial jury hears details of schoolgirl's injuries

GRAPHIC details of the injuries suffered by a former Essex schoolgirl prior to her death have been outlined to a jury hearing the case of the teenager accused of murdering her.

GRAPHIC details of the injuries suffered by a former Essex schoolgirl prior to her death have been outlined to a jury hearing the case of the teenager accused of murdering her.

Liberty Templeman had bruises on her head and scratches all down her back having allegedly been beaten unconscious before she was left in a river to drown.

The tragic teenager, who moved with her family from Brightlingsea to New Zealand in 2005, died in November 2008.

The former Colne Community College student's body was found just outside the town of Kerikeri after she disappeared on the way to meet a friend.


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A teenage boy, who was 14 at the time of the killing and cannot be named for legal reasons, is standing trial for Miss Templeman's murder.

As the case entered its second week at the High Court in Whangarei, the jury of six men and six women were shown photos of the injuries alleged to have been inflicted on her by the defendant on November 1, 2008.

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As Pathologist Dr Tim Koelmyer talked about the post mortem examination of her body, Miss Templeman's parents, Andrew and Rebecca left the courtroom.

Other supporters who had been sitting with them were visibly distressed as details of her injuries were outlined to the jury.

The pathologist, who retired two weeks ago, told of bruising to Liberty's right and left temple areas, which he said were not visible until he performed the post mortem examination.

The bruising was worse on the left side and was consistent with an impact from something the size of an adult male's palm, Dr Koelmyer said.

“This is the kind of bruise one sees after, for instance, something like a punch, a softer blow.”

Dr Koelmyer explained the different injuries found on Liberty's face but said the promising drama student died from drowning.

He found no evidence of any disease, adding: “She was perfectly healthy.”

He also described scratches from the nape of her neck to her buttocks, which he believed showed that Liberty had been dragged, most likely by someone holding the clothing on the upper half of her body.

The crown alleges that the defendant hit Liberty, strangled her and dragged her while she was unconscious, leaving her in a stream where she drowned.

He is also alleged to have pulled at her clothing to make it appear as if someone else attacked her.

The trial before Justice Raynor Asher, is expected to continue until at least Friday.

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