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Epsom motel murder: the details

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/05/2016

EPSOM MOTEL MURDER: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

WHO

* Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist, 19, and Beauen Wallace-Loretz, 18, were accused of murdering an older man in a motel unit, after forming a plan to beat and rob him

* The two teens, aged 17 at the time, had been close friends for a year before the alleged crime, and spent many nights drinking together and staying out in town, leading a somewhat transient lifestyle

* They met the victim on a night out in Auckland, a week before his death

THE VICTIM

* Ihaia Gillman-Harris, 54, a casual shift worker with no fixed abode

* Referred to as a private man by police, he befriended young men with cigarettes and alcohol in exchange for sex

* In court his sister called him gentle and non-confrontational, while the defence called him a predator

THE ARREST

* The two accused handed themselves in days after the incident

THE TRIAL

* The Crown used text messages sent between the two defendants as a major part of its case for murder

* The pair had been in a car with Gillman-Harris just hours before his death while sending the texts, and on face value the messages appeared to show a plan to beat and rob him

* They did exactly that when they got to the motel, then took off with his cash and car, the Crown said

* Nattrass-Bergquist gave evidence and said the texts were just 'gangster bravado' the boys sent each other after the older man sexually propositioned Wallace-Loretz

* He told the court the pair were forced to defend themselves at the motel, after Gillman-Harris sexually assaulted Nattrass-Bergquist

THE WEAPON

* No weapon has ever been found

* The Crown said the teens hit the victim over the head several times with a bat or other blunt force object

* The defence said they used a bottle of spirits Gillman-Harris brought with him, and hit him on the head twice

* He suffered at least four and probably five blows to the head as well as serious bruising to his body, a pathologist said

VERDICT

* Both guilty of murder, aggravated robbery and dishonestly taking a vehicle

SENTENCE

* Each of the teens was sentenced to life imprisonment

* Wallace-Loretz was jailed for at least 11 years while Nattrass-Bergquist will spend at least 10 years and nine months in prison after receiving a discount for time spent being electronically monitored while on remand

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