Te Anau honeymoon killing: Judge tells undecided jury to deliberate longer

After not being able to agree on a verdict, the jury in an Invercargill murder trial have been told they have not deliberated for long enough and have been asked to continue.

The trial is to decide whether Balclutha man Rodney Fallowfield (53) is guilty of murdering his wife Shirley Reedy in Te Anau on May 15 last year.

Although he admits strangling his wife, his claim is he did not intend to kill her.

Justice Jan-Marie Doogue was alerted about 11.16am, through the court registrar, that the jury could not reach an agreement.

”You have only been deliberating for about three and-a-half hours which is not long in the scheme of jury deliberations, particularly on a case of this importance,” she said.

“If in an hour or so you find yourselves in the same position then we’ll get you to indicate that to the court.”

She advised if they had any further questions which help bring them to a decision they should not hesitate to ask.

Fallowfield and Reedy lived in Balclutha and they knew each other about a year before their wedding in April 2019.

Since then, police attended six family harm incidents where Fallowfield and Reedy were both “victims, aggressors, or offenders”.

“Their relationship was not without issues, ” Crown solicitor Sarah McKenzie said on the first day of the trial.

On May 15, 2020, the day which Reedy was killed, the couple checked in at their accommodation and they headed to the township where they walked while holding hands and bought some wine.

After returning to the motel, at 3.22pm, Reedy posted two pictures on her Facebook page, one with her husband and the other she was alone holding a glass of sparkling wine.

She wrote as the caption ”Cheers from Te Anau”, the court has heard.

Fallowfield has told the police at some stage Reedy changed and they had a ”bit of a tiff” in respect to a previous rape allegation made by Reedy against Fallowfield.

”He said they didn’t yell or anything but Shirley Reedy threatened to have him up for rape again. He says he pleaded with her not to and that she started to yell ‘rape’, ‘rape”’.

Fallowfield told the police he felt dirty and he just snapped.

“The defendant describes going over to Shirley Reedy and straddled her with a leg on either side of her torso, putting his hands around her throat.”

The jury heard when he removed his hands, she laid limp.

In the beginning of the trial, Fallowfield denied the charge of the murder, but told the registrar that he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

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