A four-minute walk up Jay Christopher Lingman’s driveway led investigators to their first encounter with the man now accused of murdering Denver Chance.
And when police met Lingman at his Kingseat home that day, the drug dealer apologised – for his appearance and the mess in his front driveway.
Lingman has pleaded not guilty to murder and is on trial at Auckland High Court.
Jurors were today played video a detective sergeant took on his iPhone on the afternoon of March 9, 2019.
Police walked past a white horse in a paddock, past barbed-wire fences and a typical farm gate, agapanthus and onto the concrete outside Lingman’s front door.
Timothy Williams, now a detective senior sergeant at Henderson, told the court he saw a trailer with waterblasting equipment.
“As I got closer to the front door, I could also smell a very strong smell of bleach, or a similar product.”
The door alcove was wet but it was a dry day, Williams added.
“That waterblasting I thought was unusual, as it was a narrow line from the front door towards the rear of the property.”
Williams said he felt it strange the rest of the driveway was not waterblasted.
Lingman’s door, where the Crown claims Chance was shot multiple times, is approached from the driveway and then up a few steps to the facebrick alcove.
“The concrete steps were clearly wet and smelled strongly of bleach,” Williams told jurors.
A short time after police knocked on his door, Lingman greeted the officer.
“Sorry, I’ve just been attempting to do the driveway, mate,” Lingman said.
“Excuse the vest, I’ve been a bachelor for the past six months.”
Lingman told the police his partner was coming back so he was cleaning up.
The court has heard Lingman’s partner was in Britain at the time but there was talk of her imminent return to New Zealand.
Williams told jurors that Lingman invited police inside his house.
Police asked Lingman about his movements in recent days, and he had some difficulty recounting his whereabouts, which Williams said was not unusual.
The court heard police invited Lingman to review his cellphone to jog his memory.
“His hands were shaking and the dexterity had gone from his hands, I suggest,” Williams told the court.
He told the court he believed Lingman’s house was a crime scene but still needed more evidence.
Williams saw Lingman’s black Audi Q7 at the property and recorded its details, chatting briefly with Lingman before leaving.
Meanwhile, police elsewhere were reviewing CCTV footage.
The court heard police used location data from a back-up of Chance’s Google account to pinpoint his possible movements.
Williams and two other officers returned to Lingman’s property on Auckland’s southwest fringes the next day at 3.58pm.
Lingman’s black Audi was no longer present. Neither was Lingman.
Police explored the property and eventually encountered a freezer.
“We both observed that there was what appeared to be blood on the left-hand side of it.”
A detective opened the freezer.
“And inside the freezer, we both observed a male who I believed to be Denver Chance,” Williams said.
The officers then went to a point in the driveway where they could stop people arriving or interfering with the scene.
DEBTS PILING UP
Jurors heard Lingman attended the Nitro Circus action sports event at Eden Park, Remuera Golf Club and a Mt Eden restaurant after the homicide and before his arrest.
Multiple friends and associates described Lingman’s demeanour as calm during these excursions.
Lingman was arrested in Mt Eden on March 10, and he told police Chance wanted to kill him.
The trial today also heard from Detective Anna Fager, who examined Lingman’s Kingseat property.
Fager said police found documents indicating multiple entities were chasing Lingman for money.
Debt collectors Baycorp were pursuing $24,317.09 from Lingman.
ACC wanted about $5356 from one of Lingman’s companies, and ANZ Bank had sent Lingman a “final demand” for $16,583.72.
Fager said police found car ramps in Lingman’s main shed, beside the freezer where Chance was located.
Prosecutors have claimed Lingman tried and initially failed to hide Chance’s red Nissan Skyline coupe in a shipping container, before buying the ramps.
The ramps looked new, some still wrapped in plastic, and red paint was on one ramp ridge, Fager said.
The Crown has claimed Lingman used a chainsaw on Chance’s legs to position him in the freezer after the homicide.
A Husqvarna chainsaw was seized from a trailer underneath Lingman’s carport, Fager told jurors.
Drums filled with ash were at the scene.
But Fager said from this detritus, police found items including packaging for car ramps, a bleach bottle, and a McDonald’s receipt dated March 8 of that year.
The trial before Justice Melanie Harland and the jury continues.
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