Murdered Auckland teen was 'bubbly, happy'

10:57 pm on 23 September 2019

A teenager tortured and murdered in South Auckland last year will be remembered for her bubbly and happy personality.

Dimetrius Pairama's body was found in a steel drum in the backyard of a derelict house in Māngere last July.

Toko (Ashley) Shane Winter and Kerry Te Amo were found guilty of murdering the 17-year-old after a High Court trial in Auckland this month.

The pair subjected her to a period of assault and torture before asking her how she wanted to die and hanging her with a makeshift noose.

Twelve jurors heard graphic details of the last hours of her life and deliberated for three-and-a-half hours before returning unanimous guilty verdicts.

Speaking outside court, Miss Pairama's mother Lena Hetaraka-Pairama said it was difficult to sit through the court proceedings.

"It's been tough. She didn't deserve that, none of that. She never even fought with her siblings, let alone get a hiding off someone else or tortured by other people."

Ms Hetaraka-Pairama's daughter was known to the jury as Dimetrius Pairama but to her whānau she was 'Demi'.

"She was bubbly, happy ... always trying to impress like, always trying to impress me.

"I felt like she was trying to make up for our years apart. Well, she didn't need to, it was me who should've been doing all that."

Miss Pairama had only recently moved to Auckland before her death; having been raised by her paternal whānau in Northland.

She was in the care of Oranga Tamariki when she died but was known for taking off to the streets; where she met Winter and Te Amo.

The group caught the train to South Auckland to crash at the abandoned house in Māngere last July.

In her opening address, Crown Solicitor at Manukau Natalie Walker said it wasn't known why but at some point the defendants turned on the teenager.

By chance and tragedy, three police officers knocked on the door looking for a former tenant while Miss Pairama was being beaten.

She answered the door, teary and hostile, but the police eventually left the property where her body was later hidden.

Her stepfather Raymond Paul, who attended the trial with Ms Hetaraka-Pairama, said the defendants deserved what they got.

"It's been hard for Lena and all of us really, looking at right down to the ... all the evidence of what they done to her and torture her that long and for the hurt that she went through."

Winter and Te Amo pointed the finger at one another during the trial but in end, the jury found they were both guilty.

At the start of the trial, Justice Brewer warned the jurors about the details they would hear in the trial.

After the verdicts were delivered yesterday afternoon, he said the court had a 24/7 counselling service available and encouraged them to use it if they needed support.

"Mr Foreman, members of the jury, it's a difficult job you have had to do. The circumstances you have had to listen to have been difficult to say the least."

Winter and Te Amo will be sentenced on 5 November for murder and kidnapping charges they earlier pleaded guilty too.