Liam James Reid
NZ Herald story here and also here and the sentencing here and the appealed sentence here
Has now applied for leave to appeal his conviction to the Supreme Court. This was thrown out, story story here
The man charged with killing deaf woman Emma Agnew allegedly told his girlfriend he raped and killed her, did not regret it and would do it again.
This Listener article has a brief summary of this case
November 2007: Deaf woman Emma Agnew, 20, was selling her car when Liam Reid posed as a buyer. When she met him he attacked her, stuffing a sock in her mouth and raping her, before suffocating her and dumping her body in bush 15 km from Christchurch. Agnew’s body was not found for 12 days.
In the meantime, Reid travelled to Dunedin where he attacked a young woman in the central city. She was punched, choked, threatened and repeatedly raped by Reid, before she managed to escape by kicking him in the testicles.
Medical reports presented before Reid was sentenced stated he wanted to be a serial killer and rapist. Just before his attack on Agnew, Reid had been acquitted on a rape charge.
It can now be revealed Reid has been on trial before for abducting a woman, sexually violating her, and attempting to murder her during a session of experimental sex he described as "cool". He was acquitted of all those charges in October 2002, but convicted of fraudulently using the victim's bankcard while he was on the run, when he knew she had gone to the police. After the acquittals on all the sex charges, he was remanded for sentence on the bank card charge and got a three-month jail term.
His time in prison on remand had been marked with violence. In November 2002 he admitted attacking two other prison inmates in a frenzied bashing with a broom handle. He broke the broom handle over one man, who was struck repeatedly. The second victim was bashed over the head when he tried to intervene.
Judge David Holderness referred to his bad list of previous offending, including violence, and jailed him for 27 months. He was acquitted in 2003 on a charge of assaulting another inmate with intent to injure - a charge that alleged he had thrown a mug of boiling water in the other man's face and then punched him 15 times. Reid also attacked a convicted paedophile in prison.
His attack may have left George Darren Cant - in jail for molesting five children at a church camp - eligible for tens of thousands of dollars in compensation. When Reid was cuffed by a prison officer he claimed $40,000 compensation but it was refused in a decision by Christchurch District Court Judge Stephen Erber in July 2005. Cant would have been eligible to claim any compensation money that Reid had received. The prison officer lost his job over the incident.
Reid claimed the compensation for "hurt feelings". After Judge Erber refused compensation, Justice Minister Phil Goff said: "It vindicates the Government's judgment that this legislation (the Prisoners and Victims Claims Act) would be effective in stopping golden handshakes for inmates where disciplinary action against an errant prison officer dealt more effectively with the problem."
The Press Saturday, 1st November 2008
Liam Reid's family and friends were shocked when was arrested for rape and murder, but those in the prison system wouldn't have been, writes IAN STEWARD.
It would have been a strange sight for any small town, let alone Milton, south of Dunedin. A short, middle-aged skinhead, dark-green tattoos from neck to fingertips, lying on the floor of the fruit and vegetable section of the local Four Square supermarket "for ages", as townspeople said. Liam Reid was losing it. Weeks of drug and alcohol abuse were catching up with him. He had "just snapped". Again.
The phrase "just snapped" was one that came up several times at Reid's trial for the murder of Emma Agnew. Reid's former girlfriend said his teary confession to her that he had killed "the deaf girl" included that it was not premeditated. "He said he just snapped," she told the court. Later, in an unguarded moment of Reid's often colourful testimony, he described a nervous breakdown in Milton using the same phrase: "I just snapped".
Friends of Reid in Milton said the Four Square incident was typical of his often bizarre behaviour. Reid ended up in Milton courtesy of a local woman who picked Reid up hitchhiking in mid 2007. "He told me his whole life story from Dunedin to Milton. How he wanted to get away and how he had this weird upbringing."
The woman introduced him around and helped him get a job. Over the next four months, Reid would work at a local forestry outfit and befriend a group of locals, some as young as 15. He dealt and consumed what he would later describe as "copious amounts" of cannabis and BZP tablets. Brydie Taylor, 15, said Reid could be "one minute talking real nice and the next minute schiz-ing out".
She and her friends would hang out with Reid, "but you never went down there by yourself", she said. "You could tell he was different," Brydie said. "One time he was in the Four Square just lying in the vegetable department for ages. And then you'd see him running down the main street. He ended up having kidney failure. We all went and got tested." Several Miltonians mentioned that Reid had developed a particular liking for 16-year-old Ellaleigh Travis.
Travis said she didn't notice Reid's attentions, but she did notice his oddities. "He was a wee bit crazy, not hard-out crazy, but a real speedy boy." His manner was fidgety and nervous: "He had trouble sitting still." Despite his erratic behaviour, the news of his murder and rape rampage around the South Island came as a surprise.
In 1991, Reid, 18, was charged with the aggravated robbery of Hamilton's Dinsdale Service Station. He used a toy gun, and his mask fell off as he tried to make his getaway. The judge called it an "amateurish escapade" and sentenced him to two years prison. Two years after that, he was given another prison sentence – nine months – for charges including unlawfully possessing a pistol, possessing an airgun, cultivating cannabis, assaulting a female and resisting arrest.
He knew Reid had been in trouble before, but the news that he was involved in a murder and a series of rapes was a step up: "It's a shock, a bloody shock," he said. One person who was not shocked to hear Reid's name connected to the murder and sex attacks was one of his former partners, a woman now living in Hamilton, who describes herself as "one of his victims". The woman, whose name is suppressed, told The Press that Reid was a "sociopath".
In November 2001, Reid, then called Julian Heath Edgecombe, was arrested after the woman ran into the Christchurch Central Police Station and accused him of rape. Reid was later arrested and charged with eight counts, including abduction, sexual violation, assault with a weapon and attempted murder. He was found not guilty of all but one charge, but, with hindsight, the case eerily foreshadowed the fate of Emma Agnew.
Again details of Reid's extreme sexual practices – handcuffing, hitting and asphyxiation – all figured prominently. The woman testified that the then 29-year-old Reid, her boyfriend, had raped her twice, tried to strangle her twice, and then tried to hang her with a telephone cord over a door. Reid testified in his own defence, saying the two had argued and the woman had threatened to harm his daughter.
The pair then made up and were going to have "reconciliation sex", but for protection from her threats, he got her to write a note saying she had not been raped. She had written these "consent notes" before because, in Reid's words, they indulged in "hard-out, furious, fast, deviant, experimental, disgusting sex – it was cool".
The consent notes tipped the balance, and despite damage to the top of a door consistent with pressure from a telephone cord, the jury found Reid not guilty of the violent offences. However, he was found guilty of using the woman's eftpos card and stealing $160, and despite having spent a year in jail awaiting trial, the judge sentenced him to a further three months jail in October 2002.
While in prison awaiting trial, Reid attacked a fellow inmate, George Darren Cant who was also awaiting trial on charges of molesting five children at a church camp. Reid gave Cant a severe beating with a broom handle and hit another inmate who tried to intervene. In November 2002, Reid was sentenced to 27 months jail for the attack. Reid was also charged with assaulting another inmate with intent to injure by throwing boiling water over him and punching him 15 times in the head.
Reid was acquitted of those charges in 2003, but in January 2004, he had a further six-month sentence tacked on for threatening to kill and a three-month concurrent sentence imposed for mailing a threatening letter.
Reid appeared in the newspapers again in 2005, when he sued the Department of Corrections over a prison guard who had cuffed him around the head after Reid called the man a "f... black c...". The brief attack on Reid cost the man his job, but Reid pushed on, suing the department for $40,000. The suit provoked consternation, because the new Prisoners and Victims Claims Act meant victims got first option on any compensation to an inmate, and one of Reid's victims was a convicted paedophile. Reid lost the case, with Justice Stephen Erber ruling that "effective redress" had already been made and that Reid was "the author of some of his distress".
Aged 34, Reid was released from prison. Violent, drug-addicted and charming at times, but prone to a fiery temper, his reappearance in the court system shocked a few – but not many.
Julian Heath Edgecombe
Date of Birth
July 1972 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to a minimum 26 years without parole in December 2008
This was cut on appeal to a minimum 23 years without parole in July 2009
Earliest possible release date November 2030
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Struck-off lawyer Davina Murray's marriage to murderer Liam Reid 'revolting' - Minister
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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