Accused blamed attackers for fatal stabbing

4:59 pm on 27 October 2015

The man charged with a fatal knife attack initially told police that two men had raided the south Auckland unit and carried out the attack. the Crown says.

In his opening address to the jurors at the High Court in Auckland today, Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes said Ben Bosch Herkt gave descriptions of the men and even claimed that he had tried to stop the fight.

But Mr Kayes said Herkt eventually admitted that he had stabbed Matthew Greenslade after his anger and rage took over.

The Crown said Mr Herkt and his partner were at Mr Greenslade's Papakura unit in November last year.

Mr Greenslade and some other friends were celebrating a successful house inspection.

They had initially shared the cost of a box of bourbon and cola pre-mixes and when that ran out they went back to the liquor shop.

This time, they needed credit and Mr Herkt left a gold chain while Mr Greenslade left his driver's license.

Back at the unit there was an argument when some of the drinks went missing.

Mr Kayes said a fight broke out and Mr Greenslade managed to land a couple of punches to Mr Herkt's head before locking Mr Herkt and his girlfriend out of the unit.

But Mr Herkt went to a neighbour and asked for a cricket bat, said Mr Kayes. The bat was broken so Mr Herkt asked for a knife. He then went back to Mr Greenslade's unit and after finding the front door locked, he went around the back and kicked the back door in.

Mr Kayes said Mr Herkt found Mr Greenslade in the kitchen. He lunged at Mr Greenslade, stabbing him in the head and body. One of the thrusts pierced Mr Greenslade's heart.

Mr Greenslade's friends took him to a nearby accident and emergency clinic but despite the efforts of medical staff, Mr Greenslade died.

Mr Kayes said Mr Herkt and his girlfriend were seen scaling a fence after the attack. They left bloody clothing and Mr Herkt tried to clean himself at a nearby tap.

The prosecutor said Mr Herkt's girlfriend tossed the knife away and later cut off the legs of her jeans.

The next day police caught up with the pair.

Mr Kayes said Mr Herkt initially claimed two men stormed the unit where he was drinking. He described the attackers in some detail and said he tried to stop the men attacking Mr Greenslade.

However, when he was confronted with evidence from eyewitnesses, Mr Herkt confirmed he had stabbed Mr Greenslade in retaliation, after the fight. He told police his rage and anger took over.

Mr Herkt's lawyer Peter Kaye told the jurors the broad issue would be whether this is a case of murder or manslaughter.

He said what is at issue is his client's state of mind during the attack and whether Mr Herkt meant to cause the death of Mr Greenslade.

The trial before Justice Moore and a jury is set down for three weeks.