Tony Grant Waldron, 29, was found dead on September 18, 2019 at his farm in Gardiners Rd, Rakaia, 45 minutes south of Christchurch, after failing to show up for milking at 5:30 am.
After a large-scale murder investigation codenamed “Operation Gardiner,” Waldron’s estranged wife Bamber, 35, and her cousin, Joshua Dylan Morris-Bamber, 28, were charged with murder.
They deny murdering Waldron or having any role in his death.
Yesterday, and again today, Isak Morris-Bamber testified in the murder trial of his relatives at the Supreme Court in Christchurch.
He shared that he heard that his brother – who he was very close to – was “angry” and went to Waldron’s rural property in late September 2019.
In a panic, he quickly dressed, left his inner Christchurch flat, and drove south to the farm in his car. He says he hoped he could beat him there and stop him from doing anything.
The court heard earlier that Joshua Morris-Bamber allegedly asked his cousin that night, “What’s Tony’s address? I need to vent some anger.”
The Crown says Bamber encouraged Morris-Bamber to seriously assault Waldron, who she says was having an affair with her bridesmaid, in order to “teach him a lesson”.
While on the road, Emily Templeton texted her partner Isak Morris-Bamber at 11:15 p.m. to say, “Don’t help him,” then “Stop him,” before adding seconds later, “Nobody’s going to jail tonight. “.
He messaged back with fear that if his brother Joshua had “already started” by the time he got there, there was no way he could stop him.
His partner begged him to come home and not interfere.
Asked by prosecutor Andrew McRae what he thought his brother was up to, Isak Morris-Bamber told the jury he assumed he was going there “to beat up Tony.”
He then started getting text messages from Alanah Bamber.
“I think you should go home, there’s no stopping it,” she told him at 11:28 p.m., the court heard.
“I think he’ll come in and out nicely…it’s too late, better one life than two.”
Isak Morris-Bamber decided to return home.
When he got there, he was met by Bamber who reportedly demanded that he delete their texting exchange.
When asked how he felt about that, he told the court, “A little scared to be honest.”
But he removed them and started playing video games to calm down.
Waldron went to bed around 12:56 pm that night after playing the online video game Fortnite with a buddy.
The Crown claims Morris-Bamber drove about 45 minutes south on SH1 to Waldron’s farm, with cell phone data and CCTV from NZTA cameras mapping his movements.
His car, the Crown says, was captured at 12:56 p.m. while passing a golf course toward Gardiners Rd.
The same car is seen again at 1:04 AM along the same golf course, on its way back to Rakaia.
With driving time, the Crown says Morris-Bamber had “at least four minutes” at Waldron’s house, which they said was “extensive time” to go in and kill him while he was asleep.
A post-mortem examination suggests that Waldron was hit at least three times by a solid weapon to the side of his head, ear and neck.
Waldron suffered a fractured skull – with a 4cm x 2cm bone fragment coming loose – along with multiple fractures and a fractured jaw.
Morris-Bamber left quickly, the Crown claims, stopping briefly to hide “forensically important items” such as the murder weapon and bloodied clothing that he would later reportedly move again. They would never be found, the court heard.
Isak Morris-Bamber also told the court that he was going to Twizel for Waldron’s funeral.
He recalled leaving a relative’s house late one night when Bamber stopped him, Templeton and Morris-Bamber and reportedly said, “I just want you [Joshua] to know that they know you planned to go there.”
His brother is said to have replied, “The less you know, the better.”
Morris-Bamber’s defense attorney Anne Stevens KC cross-examined Isak Morris-Bamber that when he went to the ranch in a panic that night, it was an assumption on his part that Joshua was going to “bashing Tony”, which he agreed. .
He accepted that he had no information from any of his relatives that he was angry with Waldron.
“There has never been any bad blood between Tony and Joshua,” he said.
The trial, before Judge Gerard Nation, continues.