21 Apr 2016

Jury retires in motel murder trial

5:26 pm on 21 April 2016

A jury which must decide if two teenagers murdered a man in an Auckland motel room so they could rob him of cash has retired for the night.

CCTV footage of Ihaia Gillman-Harris checking into the Epsom motel.

CCTV footage of Ihaia Gillman-Harris checking into the motel in Epsom, Auckland. Photo: Supplied

Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist and Beauen Wallace-Loretz are on trial in the High Court in Auckland.

The teenagers, who were 17 at the time, have denied murdering Ihaia Gillman-Harris, 54, two days after Christmas in 2014.

The Crown said they made a plan to beat and rob a man who was only expecting consensual sexual activity.

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

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

But lawyers for the two young men said Mr Wallace-Loretz was simply protecting his best mate from a sexual assault.

Justice Toogood told jurors the case was tragic in many respects and Mr Gillman-Harris died a terrible death.

"But the Crown says there is no doubt that the brain injury occurred in the assault or assaults, and caused him, in the end, to die. But the other question that's relevant here is this issue of self-defence," he said.

Jurors will start deliberating again tomorrow morning.

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