A jury has been told that a man and a woman caring for an intellectually disabled woman assaulted her and left her to die in their bathroom before dumping her body in a river.
Joseph Proude, 47, and Here Teinakirai, 53, are charged with the manslaughter of Patricia Joseph a year ago.
In its opening address on Monday at the pair's trial in the High Court at Auckland, the Crown said they verbally and physically assaulted Ms Joseph, who at times was punched, beaten with a hose, kicked in the stomach and dragged by her hair.
In January 2008, the court heard, Ms Joseph was so badly beaten after she soiled herself that she was unable to walk or move; she died several days later on the bathroom floor.
The Crown said that neither of the accused sought medical help, and that they subsequently put the body in a sheet weighted with a rock and placed it in the Wairoa river in Clevedon.
At the beginning of the trial, which is expected to take about three weeks, both defendants pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessaries of life.
Justice Andrews subsequently gave Ms Teinakirai permission to withdraw that plea; she now pleads not guilty to that particular charge.