14 Oct 2008

Accused admitted decapitating hitchhiker - witness

5:58 pm on 14 October 2008

A former associate of a murder-accused says the man told her he had killed and decapitated an Asian hitchhiker.

The evidence came during a depositions hearing at Greymouth District Court on Tuesday. Two people have admitted killing Korean tourist Jae Hyeon Kim.

The hearing is continuing for Nelson fisherman Shannon Brent Flewellen, 29, who is acccused of murdering Mr Kim.

On Tuesday, a woman told the court that in October 2003, Mr Flewellen told her that he had picked up an Asian hitchhiker on the coast road in Buller, killed him and cut off his head with a spade.

The Crown alleges Mr Flewellen choked Mr Kim after he and two others picked him up as he was thumbing a ride south of Westport.

The witness who gave evidence against Mr Flewellen says she later saw him burning items from a backpack she believed had belonged to the hitchhiker.

Mr Kim's body has not been found.

Earlier on Tuesday, a 31-year-old man, whose name is suppressed, pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Kim at Charleston, near Westport, in September or October 2003.

He was committed for sentence in the High Court at Wellington in December.

A third man on Monday admitted there is a prima facie case against him, but the charge and other details against him have been suppressed.