26 May 2020

Pair jailed for life for murdering Auckland teen Dimetrius Pairama

10:54 am on 26 May 2020

Warning: This story includes disturbing content.

Two people who tortured and murdered a teenager at derelict house in South Auckland have been jailed for life.

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Kerry Te Amo (left) and Toko (Ashley) Shane Winter (right) have both been jailed for life. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Toko (Ashley) Shane Winter, 30, and Kerry Te Amo, 26, were found guilty of murder after a three-week trial at the High Court in Auckland last year.

The pair kidnapped, tortured and hanged 17-year-old Dimetrius Pairama, whose body was found in a drum at a derelict house in Māngere in July 2018.

A teenager alleged to have been a third party in the crime was found unfit to stand trial and will be managed by the state, subject to a pending High Court decision.

This morning Justice Brewer jailed both defendants for life, imposing a minimum non-parole period of 19 years and 4 months for Winter and 19 years for Te Amo.

Today's sentencing hearing began with Pairama's adopted mother Lauren Wilkinson-Pou's victim impact statement, read aloud by whānau member Ursula Beazley.

"Losing a child feels so unnatural. Burying a child is wrong. Our children are supposed to outlive us. I am unable to comprehend, and shudder, when I think of the violence she endured."

The court heard Pairama was raised by her paternal grandparents from an infant and was her grandfather's "sidekick"; helping him at church and at the marae.

"I find comfort knowing my husand was there to welcome her into heaven."

Addressing Te Amo directly, Wilkinson-Pou told him his whakapapa on his father's side made him Pairama's uncle.

"To take a life with such little disregard is one thing, but to take the life of a family member? As whānau, you should have been there to protect her."

The court heard Pairama moved to Auckland to be with her maternal mother Lena Hetaraka when she turned 16 years old, before she was taken into the care of Oranga Tamariki.

Demetrius Pairama's mother Lena Hetaraka-Pairama and stepfather Raymond Paul outside after the verdicts.

Demetrius Pairama's mother Lena Hetaraka-Pairama and stepfather Raymond Paul outside after the verdicts. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Crown solicitor at Manukau Natalie Walker began this morning's sentencing by telling the court there was no good reason why the defendants detained, tortured and murdered Pairama.

Walker said there had been a "terrible loss of humanity" the day the teenager was murdered, and submitted a starting point of 21 years imprisonment was appropriate.

Winter's lawyer Matthew Goodwin acknowledged his client's offending was "brutal, callous and senseless".

He said it appeared to have been driven by resentment carried by the teenager alleged to have been the third party in the murder, about Pairama being in a relationship with her ex-boyfriend.

Goodwin said Winter was deeply troubled and damaged, with a background marred by family violence, sexual abuse and her father's suicide.

"One wonders whether in the darkest moments of violence, what was happening was that the offenders were in a sense taking out their own frustrations in their own lives, as that contributed to a loss of self control."

Pairama had socialised with the defendants and two other teenagers in Auckland's CBD before sleeping over at the state house she died in, on 10 July 2018.

The defendants worked together to hang Pairama, after subjecting her to a period of torture and asking her how she wanted to die; by stabbing or hanging.

Much of what the Crown said happened in that house came from one of the other teenagers at the house who was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for giving truthful evidence.

She told the court Pairama was stripped naked, tied to a chair and burnt before being asked how she wanted to die.

She said Winter was the ringleader of the group; evidence echoed by a police officer who by chance door- knocked the house during the period of abuse on an unrelated inquiry.

The constable told the jury Pairama opened the door looking teary before an older woman matching Winter's description joined her.

He felt the older female was "the boss" of the house but eventually left the house after Pairama refused repeated offers of help.

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