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Seven-minute choke killed man: Crown

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/10/2016

With a drunk and bleeding man laying on top of him, murder-accused Victor Rubie didn't call for medical assistance. Instead he grabbed the injured man's neck and began to squeeze, prosecutors says.

Tauailapalapa Mati, 33, died after being beaten with a metal bar and then choked while visiting an Otahuhu boarding house in July last year, according to the Crown.

Victor Rubie, 24, is now standing trial accused of his murder.

Opening the prosecution case at the High Court at Auckland on Monday, Crown lawyer Yelena Yelavich told the jury that after being beaten with a metal rod, a drunk and severely injured Mr Mati struggled to get to his feet, grabbing onto Rubie and then collapsing onto the accused.

With Mr Mati on top of him, Rubie wrapped his legs around Mr Mati's hips, put him in a headlock and began to squeeze - not letting go for at least seven minutes, she said.

"He effectively strangled him to death."

She said the leg wrap meant Mr Mati had no chance of getting away and it could not have been self defence.

"What he needed was medical assistance, not someone choking him."

Rubie later told police he had panicked, worried a confused Mr Mati would hit him, and denied having mixed martial arts training, she said.

Mr Mati had shown up at the boarding house drunk, and began taunting the men that lived there on the afternoon of July 18,2015, the court heard.

This prompted one of them to call his bother, Wiremu Ormsby, who showed up at the house with a metal bar and "laid into" Mr Mati without warning, Ms Yelavich said.

Ormsby pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was last month sentenced.

Ms Yelavich said while pathologists had found there had been haemorrhaging to Mr Mati's brain from the beating, it was the subsequent choking that had ultimately killed him.

The trial is set down for three weeks.

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