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Accused insane at time of killing: Defence

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/05/2016

An Auckland man obsessed with a much younger girl was insane when he bashed her new partner to death with a hammer as he slept, his defence says.

Jiaxin Tu, 36, is charged with the murder of Shane Hawe-Wilson, 19, at a Panmure home in July last year.

His lawyer Peter Tomlinson said in his opening remarks there was no dispute Tu had killed Mr Hawe-Wilson, but at the time he was so mentally impaired he was incapable of knowing what he did was morally wrong.

After Mr Hawe-Wilson's death, Tu was hospitalised in the Mason Clinic while he was unfit to stand trial, and was "legally insane", Mr Tomlinson said.

Prosecutor Kirsten Lummis earlier made her opening arguments, saying that in 2010 Tu began a "messed up" relationship with his then 12-year-old neighbour Crystal Hawe, when he was already in his thirties.

It was unclear whether the two had a sexual relationship, but Ms Hawe took advantage of Tu's obsession with her to get him to give her money, cigarettes and other property over several years, Ms Lummis said.

He became extremely jealous of Ms Hawe's then-boyfriend and tried to pay a hitman to kill him, Ms Lummis said.

He also exhibited other jealous and violent behaviours, and his parents, concerned about his escalating mental health issues, got him to move out of their house in May 2015 when it reached "crisis point".

He was then kicked out of a flat at the end of June, and with nowhere to go, turned to Ms Hawe.

She had recently broken up with her partner and began a relationship with her cousin, Mr Hawe-Wilson, and was living with him in a friend's flat.

Despite several confrontations between Tu and Mr Hawe-Wilson over the girl, Tu came to stay with the couple on June 28, offering Mr Hawe-Wilson money to leave and let him have Ms Hawe.

Over the next few days, between drinking sessions, the two men engaged in more violent fighting.

In the early hours of July 1, Tu crept into the couple's bedroom and hit Mr Hawe-Wilson over the head two or three times with a hammer, killing him almost instantly, Ms Lummis said.

"He didn't stand a chance. "His wounds were fatal, his death so sudden he didn't wake."

Ms Hawe slept for several hours, unaware, until Tu got into bed and tried to force himself on her, whereupon she woke up screaming and discovered her dead partner.

When police arrived, Tu admitted he had killed Mr Hawe-Wilson, but said he did so to save himself, Ms Lummis said.

Ms Lummis said although Tu had mental health issues, he knew what he did was morally wrong.

The trial continues.

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