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Murder case against former corrections officer outlined

The crown prosecutors leave court after the Tarrant case

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The trial is in its second day, at the High Court in Christchurch.
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

A former corrections officer killed his childhood friend after learning the friend had begun a relationship with the officer’s ex-partner, crown prosecutors said during a High Court murder trial in Christchurch.

David Charles Benbow, 54, pleaded not guilty to the 2017 killing of Michael Craig McGrath, 49.

Michael McGrath

Michael McGrath disappeared in 2017
Photo: NZ Police

Crown prosecutor Claire Boshier told the court on Tuesday that Benbow spoke of “wanting to annihilate” McGrath after discovering the relationship through his daughter.

“Why did Mr Benbow want to annihilate Mr McGrath?

“Mr Benbow had just had his suspicions confirmed about Mr McGrath being in a relationship with his ex-partner of 17 years.”

Boshier told the jury about how Benbow struggled with the revelation, and how he told a counsellor that his sleep had deteriorated, he had stopped eating and “felt shafted”.

It was the second day of the trial after the 12 jurors were finalised on Monday.

The trial under Justice Jonathan Eaton was expected to take seven weeks with a total of 133 witnesses to provide evidence.

McGrath was last seen at his Halswell home in May 2017 and his body had not been found.

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