The engineer accused of giving ecstasy to a US polo player before she died in his spa pool allegedly offered another guest the drug speed, a court heard today.
Promising American polo star Lauren Mikaila Biddle, 22, died suddenly, most likely of a drug overdose, during a small gathering at a hillside house in the Christchurch suburb of Clifton on October 22, 2018.
Joseph Douglas McGirr, a 39-year-old Christchurch civil engineer, denies supplying Biddle – and a friend Guy Higginson – the Class-B controlled drug MDMA, also known as ecstasy, and attempting to pervert the course of justice by hiding Biddle’s clothing after her death.
McGirr is standing trial at Christchurch District Court this week.
This morning, an Australian man, Sam Chambers who was visiting friends in New Zealand two years ago, told of going to McGirr’s house on October 21, 2018 for a few beers.
He’d already had “quite a few” before he arrived and early in the evening allegedly struck up a conversation with McGirr about drugs.
McGirr told him, “You Aussies know how to party,” Chambers recalled, and said how McGirr reckoned he’d seen “heaps of cocaine” in Australia.
And he also allegedly told Chambers, “If you want to get on it, just let me know. I’ll just have to make some phone calls.”
“Joe did tell me he could get drugs if I wanted it,” Chambers told the jury.
McGirr allegedly told him he could get his hands on the amphetamine known as speed.
Chambers, an agricultural contractor from New South Wales, said he’d never touched it so said, ‘No thanks, mate, and he was like, ‘No worries. I can get it, like, now.”
“I didn’t think it was going to be that big a night to be honest”, said Chambers who thought they were just having a few quiet beers.
But he told the court he didn’t see any drugs produced that evening while he was there.
He admitted seeing a tin of cannabis but can’t recall if he – or anyone else – had smoked any.
Yesterday his friend, North Canterbury professional polo player Higginson, also a mate of McGirr’s and ex-boyfriend of Biddle, gave evidence to say McGirr later provided three 3cm long lines of ground up “kind of blue… bluey” powder which he took for ecstasy and they all snorted. It was after Chambers had left the gathering.
Then Higginson told of returning to the spa and McGirr saying Biddle was dead.
Higginson says McGirr refused to call emergency services, allegedly saying, “F*** off. The police aren’t coming around here.”
McGirr’s lawyer Rupert Glover says Higginson’s version is “a reconstruction, not a recollection” and completely inaccurate.
The Crown earlier outlined its case, saying at the heart of the matter lies a small social gathering that went “horribly, tragically wrong”.
After Biddle was found unconscious, and emergency services were being called, Crown prosecutor Kerry White claimed McGirr was back in the house “tidying evidence of the party”, clearing bottles and cans, and throwing Biddle’s clothes and belongings over his balcony into an overgrown section below.
He then took them further down the hill, the Crown says, and using a spade covering them with leaves and concealed them.
The Crown says Biddle was very drunk – nearly four times the drink driving limit – and found with a high concentration of MDMA in her system around 15 times greater than the “normal recreational use” of the drug.
A post-mortem found her cause of death was most likely a drug overdose that caused a sudden cardiac arrest.
The trial, before Judge Tom Gilbert, continues.
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