Guilty plea to Penny Royal murder

ROCHERLEA man Mathew Patrick Tunks has pleaded guilty to murdering his de facto partner Jessica Ann Kupsch at the Penny Royal Motel in Launceston this year.

Tunks, 39, killed 29-year-old Miss Kupsch by punching and kicking her to the head in a room of the hotel about 9pm on August 9.

In a recorded interview with police that was played in the Launceston Supreme Court this morning, Tunks said he had decided to book the hotel room to do something nice for Miss Kupsch.

He said he had picked up a new pair of running shoes on lay-by that day, and she had commented that `it must be nice to buy something for yourself'.

``So out of that I thought ok, I'll take her out for a good night,'' he said.

``Shout her tea, nice room, do something nice for her.''

Tunks told police he and Miss Kupsch had been drinking earlier that day and had taken Valium, and that he had also taken Temazepam.

About 9pm, he said, he was drinking in the hotel room and Miss Kupsch was dying her hair.

``Jessica turned and said something smug to me, and after that I lost it, I just, I assaulted her,'' he said.

He said he could not remember exactly what she had said, but recalled that it concerned the couple's then eight-month-old son.

Tunks said he punched Miss Kupsch to the side of her head, causing her to fall to the floor unconscious.

He said he then kicked her twice to the head and once to the arm.

Tunks said that at first he thought she was just unconscious, but soon realised that she was dead.

He then called a friend and asked her to pick him up.

In a statutory declaration to police, the friend said Tunks had sounded shaken on the phone and had said: ``I need you to pick me up, I'm at the Penny Royal, I've just killed Jessica.''

The plea hearing before Chief Justice Ewan Crawford continues this afternoon.

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