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Man guilty of Auckland hammer murder

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/06/2016

A man who used a hammer to beat the sleeping partner of a teen he was obsessed with has been found guilty of murder.

Jiaxin Tu, 36, was accused of killing Shane Hawe-Wilson, 19, at a home in Panmure, Auckland, in July last year.

Although the defence argued Tu was insane at the time of the attack, a jury at the High Court in Auckland found him guilty on Thursday after a day of deliberation - reaching an 11 to one verdict.

During the trial the Crown said Tu was obsessed with Mr Hawe-Wilson's girlfriend, who Tu met in 2010 when she was just 12, and grew extremely jealous, even trying to pay a hitman to kill a previous boyfriend.

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

Despite several confrontations between Tu and Mr Hawe-Wilson, Tu came to stay with the couple on June 28, offering Mr Hawe-Wilson $5000 to leave the city and let him have the girl.

On July 1 Tu crept into the room where the teen and Mr Hawe-Wilson were sleeping and struck the man over the head two or three times with a hammer, almost instantly killing him.

The girl 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, Crown prosecutor Kirsten Lummis told the court.

But while there was no question Tu had attacked Mr Hawe-Wilson, his defence argued he was insane at the time.

Psychiatrist Russell Wyness said a combination of autism and delusional thinking meant Tu may not have realised what he was doing was morally wrong, possibly because he mistakenly thought he was in danger from Mr Hawe-Wilson.

He said Tu had increasingly shown signs of schizophrenia in the months before the attack and believed he was a god or Jesus at times.

But psychiatrist Peter Dean, called by the Crown, said despite Tu suffering from Schizoaffective disorder and his poor history of taking his medication, it was unlikely he was legally insane.

A sentencing date is yet to be set.

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