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Atiamuri man confessed to killing: Crown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/03/2017

High Court © SNPA High Court As his partner lay dead and bloodied in a bed nearby, James William Te Hiko called police.

"I have killed her with my hands and feet. I have beaten and killed her," prosecutors say he told the person on the line.

The 44-year-old Atiamuri scaffolder is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua accused of murdering partner Queenie Karaka, generally known as Nina Thompson, in a sustained beating during a 10-hour period on April 19 and 20 last year.

In her opening, Crown prosecutor Amanda Gordon said the couple had been the only people in the defendant's home at the time Ms Thompson died, meaning it would never be exactly known what happened.

But a large metal pipe had been found in the house with Ms Thompson's blood and hair on it.

"We also know that while the focus of the defendant's attack was on her head and face, she suffered extreme trauma to just about every part of her body, that she was rendered unconscious," the prosecutor said.

She described the injuries as so severe Te Hiko's brother, who'd been with the couple earlier on April 19, had barely been able to recognise her swollen face.

There were loud sobs from the public gallery as Ms Gordon outlined the injuries Te Hiko inflicted.

Ms Gordon said hand and arm injuries indicated Ms Thompson had tried to defend and protect herself.

She said her blood-soaked and torn T-shirt had been found on the bedroom floor and when she was found she had clean clothes on.

"By the end of this case you will know form the evidence that he left her to die in the bed," she said."

Blood stained towels indicated Te Hiko had attempted to clean up some of the mess in the room.

The jury heard how Te Hiko had phoned his mother at 7.15am on April 20 mumbling 'mum, mum, mum, 'I did it, I woke up and she wasn't breathing ."

His next call was to the police.

When his brother arrived at the house Te Hiko hugged him, telling him: "I couldn't stop, I am sorry, she is dead, I killed her."

Te Hiko's lawyer, Harry Edward, told the jury his client admitted he had killed Ms Thompson but that he was guilty of manslaughter not murder.

"He is saying something horrible happened but he didn't intend to kill her with the injuries he inflicted," Mr Edward said.

The trial continues.

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