11 Apr 2016

Man likely died from bat blows - pathologist

4:54 pm on 11 April 2016

A man fatally bashed in an Auckland motel room is likely to have suffered five blows to the head, an expert has told the court at a trial of two teenagers.

Ihaia Gillman-Harris.

Ihaia Gillman-Harris. Photo: SUPPLIED / NZ Police

Leonard Nattrass-Berquist and Beauen Wallace-Loretz, both 17 at the time of Ihaia Gillman-Harris' death in December 2014, deny the murder charges against them.

Forensic pathologist Paul Morrow detailed the 54-year-old's injuries, saying his fractured skull, broken bones and severe bruising could have been caused partly by a round-shaped, bar-type instrument.

When asked if a sports bat could have caused the injuries, Dr Morrow said it could.

Mr Gillman-Harris was likely to have suffered five blows to the head, causing several fractures to his skull, Dr Morrow said.

He was hit at least three times on the right side of his head, once on the top and then once on the left side.

When asked by the defence if the fatal head injuries could have happened after falling onto the corner of a glass coffee table in the room, Dr Morrow said it was possible.

But he refused to accept that a single fall or blow caused the damage to his skull.

Punching and stomping could have caused his other injuries, Mr Morrow said.

Leonard Nattrass-Berquist, left, and Beauen Wallace-Loretz

Leonard Nattrass-Berquist, left, and Beauen Wallace-Loretz Photo: Supplied

The Crown's case is the teenagers had planned to beat up Mr Gillman-Harris, and brought a bat along with them to do so.

Security footage showed Mr Gillman-Harris emerging from the hotel unit, clutching a towel to his head and limping. He later died in hospital.

Dr Morrow could not say how much force or how many instruments had been used.

The case for the teens' defence is set to begin tomorrow.

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