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Savage Atiamuri attack was murder: Crown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/03/2017

A Waikato man accused of murdering his partner in a savage beating knew he could kill her when he hit her at least 70 times - including with an iron pole, the Crown says.

Closing arguments have been made in the trial of James Te Hiko, a 44-year-old scaffolder on trial in the High Court at Rotorua for the murder of Queenie Karaka, known as Nina Thompson, at Atiamuri in April last year.

The 41-year-old had no chance of surviving the beating, which included punches, kicks and blows with an iron pole, Crown solicitor Amanda Gordon said on Monday.

"He was acting deliberately - knew exactly what he was doing."

A forensic pathologist had said at least 70 blows had been inflicted and it was damage to the brain stem that was unsurvivable.

Te Hiko was in a rage because she suggested she may have replaced him in her affections and that he'd been drinking and take both methampetamine and cannabis.

"He didn't care if she died, he told his brother he couldn't stop and that is the truth, he couldn't stop, didn't stop until he killed her and that is exactly what he intended to do, making him guilty of murder," Ms Gordon said.

However, Te Hiko's lawyer Harry Edward denied there was murderous intent.

Te Hiko denied using the pole on Ms Thompson and if she had been hit over the head with it she would have been instantly pulverised, Mr Edward said.

He questioned the evidence of blood and hair on the pole.

"What is there to say it was not placed on this item at some time?''

He urged the jury to focus on the legal difference between murder and manslaughter, emphasising Te Hiko would not walk away unscathed if they decided it was manslaughter.

Justice Murray Gilbert is expected to sum up before the jury retires to deliberate on Tuesday.

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