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Defendant 'disturbed' at sexual claims

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/03/2017

A man charged with abducting a 15-year-old south Auckland girl says she told him she had been kicked out of home.

"I was led to believe her relationship with her mother was fragile," the defendant told a Rotorua District Court jury on Wednesday.

The defendant said the girl said she was kicked out of home. He attempted to take her back after she'd fought with his step mother who had dragged her out of his car and slapped her, angry because she had touched his leg.

He told the jury when she declined his offer to take her home he attempted to check into a motel but the girl insisted they 'crash' in the car at Maraetai.

There she demanded he give her a driving lesson and had drunk ready-mixed drinks until she was sick.

He said he had given her his puffer jacket to keep warm while she slept in the back of the car, he in the front.

He denied he'd made any sexual advances towards the girl despite her telling him she was attracted to him, that he was kind and good looking.

"I said she must be blind," the defendant said.

The following day, she again refused to be taken home, he checked into a motel but the girl heard sirens and demanded they leave, concerned she was being looked for.

He again denied sexual activity between them when questioned by his lawyer, Bill Nabney, about the pair sleeping in the defendant's car at Lake Karapiro.

From there he'd taken the girl to his sister's Taupo home where she'd drunk 'like a fish', again vomiting.

The defendant refuted the girl's claims they were intimate at his sister's home.

Asked by his lawyer how her allegations made him feel the defendant said "pretty disturbed".

"I have had to live with this for the last two years, struggle to understand it," he said.

Judge Maree MacKenzie dismissed three of the seven burglary charges the defendant initially faced.

He has maintained not guilty pleas to the remaining burglary charges, one of abduction and two representative charges of sexual connection in Taupo and Rotorua.

The charges relate to a period between July 21 and August 6, 2015 and the girl's disappearance sparked a manhunt across the Bay of Plenty and eastern North Island.

The trial, before a jury of 11 women and one man, is into its second week.

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