'Rambling history' in Kiwi's defence

  • 22/03/2016
'Rambling history' in Kiwi's defence

The New Zealander accused of murdering his wife in Canada has taken the stand to deny the crime and deliver a "rambling history" of the couple's relationship "rife with tangential explainers and New Zealand trivia".

Former Napier councillor Peter Beckett is accused of murdering Laura Letts-Beckett in August 2010.

Ms Letts-Beckett drowned while fishing on Arrow Lake, British Columbia. The Crown says Beckett, 59, is a calculating killer who murdered her by shoving her off the boat so he could profit from her inheritance, insurance money and their house.

His trial before a jury in Kamloops, about 200km from Arrow Lake, has been running for two months.

On Monday (local time), Beckett took the stand briefly following his lawyer's opening statement and denied pushing his wife off the boat.

He then gave "a rambling history of how he met Letts-Beckett, rife with tangential explainers and New Zealand trivia", Kamloops This Week reports.

His testimony included Kiwis being named after the native bird, not the kiwifruit, and the origin of the name Cape Kidnappers.

Further testimony is expected this week.

Earlier, Beckett's lawyer Donna Turko said Ms Letts-Beckett was depressed and could have been suicidal.

A jailhouse informant who testified against Beckett was a "rat who likes to lie and likes to lie for money", she said.

Beckett served one term on Napier City Council from 1998 to 2001 before leaving to start a new life in Canada, where he worked as a school bus driver.