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Epsom murder trial: the facts

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/04/2016



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.


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 two accused handed themselves in days after the incident.


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.


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 impacts to the head as well as serious bruising to his body, a pathologist said.


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


The pair will be sentenced on May 24.

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