Neighbour heard ‘a couple of thuds’ before woman’s body was found next door

A man who was staying next to the hotel room where Azalia Wilson’s body was found heard people arguing and a “couple of thuds” on the night she was killed.

Kereru Moses gave evidence on the sixth day of a jury trial for Samuel Moses Samson in the High Court at Invercargill yesterday.

The trial before Justice Gerald Nation started last week after Samson pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wilson at the Bavarian Hotel in Invercargill on November 17, 2019.

Moses told the court he was living in Dunedin at the time of the incident but travelled to Invercargill to work and often stayed at the hotel.

On that particular weekend, he was with his 1-year-old son in the room.

Both went to bed about 9.30pm on Saturday, November 16, but Moses recalled he was woken up by his son, who was crying, at 1.30am.

He said it took about 20 to 30 minutes for his son to go back to sleep, but during this time he heard the voices of a male and female arguing and a couple of thuds.

Crown solicitor Mary-Jane Thomas asked whether Moses could identify where the voices and thuds were coming from.

“I’m pretty sure it was coming from the unit next door.”

He could not hear what they were saying as it was “muffled” but he noticed one of the voices was low like a man’s and the other higher-pitched from a woman.

He woke up again at 4am but could not hear anything more.

Under cross-examination, defence counsel Hugo Young asked if what he had heard meant anything to him.

Moses replied no, and thought it was “just a bit of argument” between a couple on a Saturday night.

He also told the court he looked out the window to the carpark area during the overheard argument, as he was worried the thuds could have been someone hitting his car.

However, he only saw his car parked at the site.

A witness who was granted name suppression said Samson messaged her through an app on Monday, November 18, about 3pm asking for help as he wanted to hand himself in.

She said Samson told her he was scared and did not want to hand himself in before speaking to an officer whom he knew, as he feared police would shoot him.

Two police constables who were first at the scene, yesterday spoke about the procedures taken to secure the crime scene, including the use of boots and gloves when they entered the unit.

Samson’s sister Santana Watkins also gave evidence and told the court how Samson contacted her about midnight on Tuesday, November 19, to pick him up from Clifton to hand himself in.

“To me, he looked cold and tired.”

She said Samson wanted to go straight to the police but she decided to take him to his hotel where he could have a shower and a bit of sleep before handing himself in the next morning.

She recalled her brother saying he “couldn’t or can’t imagine life without her”.

The trial continues.

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