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Thursday, 6 September 2007
The brutal details of the death of Marton pensioner Mona Morriss were outlined by a pathologist today in the High Court at Wanganui.
The trial of murder accused Tracy Jean Goodman, 42, resumed after a day’s adjournment due to a wrangle over her sleeping arrangements.
There are no provisions for female prisoners in Wanganui, and Goodman had been sleeping in a temporary holding cell at the local police station.
Justice Mark Cooper adjourned the trial saying the situation was wholly unsatisfactory and threatened Goodman’s right to a fair trial.
After a day’s negotiation between the Department of Corrections and the police, it was arranged for Goodman to stay at the Palmerston North Police Station, which has a more comfortable cell, with Corrections providing the round trip transportation each day.
Goodman is charged with killing Mrs Morriss on January 3, 2005, and with burgling her flat on the same day.
She denies both charges.
Pathologist George Thomas said he had performed the autopsy on Mrs Morriss’ body.
He said she had been beaten about the head, suffering a fractured skull and a fractured cheek bone.
The beating would have most likely left her unconscious, or semi-conscious, he said.
She was then stabbed six times.
The stab wounds were inflicted so closely together it was impossible to follow the exact pathways of each wound.
On four occasions, the knife pierced straight through her heart, he said.
The knife used could easily have been any common kitchen knife, he said.
There were no defensive injuries on her hands or forearms and the neat positioning of the wounds indicated she was incapable of movement throughout the attack.
Goodman sat quietly with her head down throughout the day, only looking up, with a smile, when a supporter left the court calling out “Tracy” as she walked out.
Earlier in the day, exhibits officer Detective Constable Felicity Mansell presented a diary belonging to Goodman to the court.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Cameron had earlier made reference to the diary, quoting from the days following the murder, when Goodman made entries calling on God to help her, and saying she felt her life had fallen into depression.
Defence counsel Mike Antunovich asked Ms Mansell to read the entire diary entries for those days – in full, the diary entries clearly refer to Goodman’s custody battle for her child.
A letter from Across Social Services received by Goodman in December 2004 suspended her contact with her 8-year-old son until the end of January 2005.
In her diary, on January 4 – the day after the murder – Goodman wrote of her determination to keep a diary for both herself and her son.
She mentioned the “pathetic letter” from Across and said the system had not given her a chance.
“I don’t want to lose my bond with my son,” she said.
Goodman’s GP, Kim Liaw, said the accused had suffered from depression in 2004, and had been proscribed Prozac.