4 Apr 2016

Teenagers planned fatal attack, Crown says

8:31 pm on 4 April 2016

Two teenagers accused of murder sent text messages to each other, planning to beat and rob their victim so badly he'd end up in hospital, the Crown says.

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

Leonard Nattrass-Berquist, left, and Beauen Wallace-Loretz Photo: Supplied

Leonard Nattrass-Berquist and Beauen Wallace-Loretz are on trial in the High Court in Auckland, charged with murdering 54-year-old Ihaia Gillman-Harris.

The Crown says the two teens planned the robbery behind Mr Gillman-Harris' back - both figuratively and literally.

He said the two boys were texting each other about how they would carry out the robbery while Mr Gillman-Harris was driving them around Auckland.

The Crown prosecutor David Johnstone read some of the messages out in court:

Mr Johnstone said the pair spent just 13 minutes inside a room at the Epsom Ascot Motel with Mr Gillman-Harris.

He said the Crown's case would also show the pair brought some kind of bat with them to carry out the assault. They left the older man in the hotel room with multiple skull fractures.

Despite emergency surgery, Mr Gillman-Harris died of his injuries later that day.

Mr Johnstone said the teenagers took Mr Gillman-Harris' wallet cash and made off with his car.

But the defence case is that the pair acted in self-defence.

Mr Nattrass-Berquist's lawyer, Murray Gibson, described Mr Gillman-Harris as a predator and said the older man had supplied the teenagers with alcohol and cigarettes.

He said Mr Gillman-Harris had an ulterior motive and that was to have a sexual encounter with one or both of the boys.

He said earlier that day Mr Gillman-Harris had offered Mr Nattrass-Berquist money to perform a sex act but the teenager refused.

He told the motel staff that the teenagers were his nephews and were on their way to a concert.

Once the three got inside the hotel room, Mr Gillman-Harris opened up his laptop and played a pornographic video but Mr Nattrass-Berquist wasn't interested and slammed the laptop closed.

He said later, while Mr Wallace-Loretz was in the toilet, he sexually assaulted Mr Nattrass-Berquist and pushed him onto the bed

Mr Gibson said Mr Wallace-Loretz came to his friend's rescue.

He described his client as a 17-year-old who was holding down two jobs and had no previous convictions.

The trial, before a jury and Justice Toogood, opened today and has been set down for four weeks.