13 Apr 2016

Sex act deal agreed before bashing - Crown

7:48 pm on 13 April 2016

Two teenagers agreed to have consensual sex with a 54-year-old man before fatally bashing and robbing him, the Crown says.

Leonard Nattrass-Berquist and Beauen Wallace-Loretz have denied charges of murdering Ihaia Gillman-Harris and are on trial in the High Court in Auckland.

 Ihaia Gillman-Harris checking in to the Epsom motel on CCTV footage.

CCTV footage of Mr Gillman-Harris checking into the motel in Epsom, Auckland, where the Crown says he was murdered. Photo: Supplied

Mr Nattrass-Berquist is giving evidence in his own defence, and told the court today he and Mr Wallace-Loretz had agreed to go to a motel room with Mr Gillman-Harris but only to sleep after a night of drinking.

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

Mr Nattrass-Berquist, left, and Mr Wallace-Loretz Photo: Supplied

Under cross-examination from Crown prosecutor David Johnstone, Mr Nattrass-Berquist confirmed Mr Gillman-Harris had offered Mr Wallace-Loretz $1000 to perform a sex act.

He said the offer was made while the three drank bourbon pre-mixes at an empty lot in Kingsland.

Mr Nattrass-Berquist said he felt disappointed and upset by the approach.

He later confirmed to Mr Johnstone that he had been very angry by the offer and that, despite the age gap, the gifts of alcohol and cigarettes, and the rides around Auckland, he had believed Mr Gillman-Harris only wanted friendship.

The prosecutor then took the teenager through a flurry of text messages that he and Mr Wallace-Loretz sent while in the car with Mr Gillman-Harris, hours before the fatal bashing.

Some of the messages include derogatory words for homosexuals, and one from Mr Wallace-Loretz said he would break Mr Gillman-Harris' legs.

Ihaia Gillman-Harris.

Mr Gillman-Harris Photo: SUPPLIED / NZ Police

The Crown's case is that there is also mention in the text messages about getting a bat to carry out the attack. But, despite four text messages using the word "bat", Mr Nattrass-Berquist said that was a spelling mistake and actually referred to a bottle of alcohol.

He said the teens were never going to go through with the robbery and beating and that it was just "stupid talk".

Mr Nattrass-Berquist said the three decided to go to a motel to sleep off the alcohol after drinking all night.

By this stage, it was the early hours of the morning and no motels were open so they stopped at a Burger King car park.

Mr Johnstone suggested that it was about this time that there was a discussion about the two teenagers having sex with Mr Gillman-Harris for money.

Mr Nattrass-Berquist denied that had ever happened.

The prosecutor then suggested they had gone to the hotel to carry out the robbery away from CCTV cameras. He also pointed to a mention of CCTV cameras in the text messages between the teenagers.

The prosecutor showed Mr Nattrass-Berquist a CCTV clip captured by the motel's security system, which appeared to show Mr Wallace-Loretz walking sideways from the car to the door of the unit that they stayed in.

Two teenagers entering motel on Epsom Motel CCTV footage

CCTV footage of the two teenagers entering the Epsom Motel. Photo: Supplied

Mr Johnstone suggested to Mr Nattrass-Berquist that Mr Wallace-Loretz was trying to conceal a bat that he was taking into the unit.

Mr Nattrass-Berquist denied there was a bat and reiterated that the pair never planned to carry out the robbery.

He said, once inside the motel room, Mr Gillman-Harris played a pornographic film on his laptop before sexually assaulting him.

He said Mr Wallace-Loretz came to his rescue and used a bottle of alcohol to strike Mr Gillman-Harris over the head.

His evidence will continue tomorrow.

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