Māngere Bridge murder trial: No bystander could save woman killed by car, court hears

A woman allegedly killed by a driver was going to die no matter how bystanders responded because her injuries were “irretrievable”, a forensic pathologist claims.

Soafa Niumagumagu is on trial at the High Court in Auckland for murdering Sagaia Kaisala, 32, with his car.

He is also accused of the attempted murder of his ex-wife Puapuaga Matamua after stabbing her multiple times moments before Kaisala’s death. Kaisala had run to Matamua’s aid.

Abdul Riyaz was also allegedly hit by Niumagumagu’s car. He survived but suffered serious injuries.

The alleged violent string of events took place over a matter of minutes outside the trio’s workplace – Oji Fibre Solutions – in Māngere Bridge in June 2019.

Matamua had left Niumagumagu for another man days before the incident, the jury has heard.

“It seems that the car collided with Kaisala, she has been thrown in the same direction the car was travelling and collided with a stationary vehicle,” a Christchurch-based specialist forensic pathologist Martin Sage told a jury via audio visual link.

He was called to provide evidence as part of the defendant’s case.

Kaisala sustained a fractured knee and pelvis, the court heard.

Sage could not determine if it was Kaisala’s impact with the first or second car that caused the injuries that led to her death.

“This is an injury that is irretrievable. It didn’t matter if it happened there or on the steps of Middlemore Hospital, she was going to die and no prospect from bystanders was going to change that,” he told the jury.

Sage could not accurately calculate how fast the car was travelling.

The key is the rate or change of the speed of the car, not the speed itself, Sage said while giving evidence.

“We don’t know exactly what direction car was going in, how fast it was going and how it was accelerating,” Sage said.

“With Kaisala we don’t know where she was travelling, if she was moving and how fast that was.

“It’s impossible to say or test how she got those injuries.”

Sage said he had been provided with one witness statement.

But over the course of the trial the Crown has called evidence from 11 people who claim to have seen Kaisala killed by a car, many of whom were her colleagues.

Converting supervisor Robert Kearney said he called an ambulance and performed CPR on Kaisala.

Telea Toe said he sat inside his stationary car while Kaisala was propelled into the back of it from the other car.

Witnesses on behalf of the defendant have been called this week.

Niumgumagu’s former landlord and housemate Mani Sharma claimed he was “a good guy” who often saw his young daughter after work.

Two of Niumagumagu’s colleagues earlier told the jury he spoke to them about his marriage meltdown, some even had tearful exchanges at work.

Closing arguments from Crown prosecutor Luke Radich, defence counsel Sharyn Green and summing up from Justice Mathew Downs are expected on Monday before the jury retires.

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