Man guilty of 'bourbon and cola' murder

  • 05/11/2015

It started as an argument between friends over a few bottles of booze and ended in a deadly stabbing. Now an Auckland man has been convicted of murder.

It took a jury just two hours to convict Ben Bosch Herkt over the killing of Matthew Greenslade, 32, who died after being stabbed repeatedly in November last year.

During the trial, the court heard how the two men got into a fight over a box of pre-mixed bourbon and cola while drinking at Mr Greenslade's house.

Herkt, 39, ran to a neighbour's house and asked for a knife, before returning and stabbing Greenslade seven times in the head, neck and chest, prosecutors said.

Although those facts weren't disputed, defence lawyer Peter Kaye said it was a case of manslaughter not murder.

In summarising the evidence, Justice Simon Moore told the jurors at the High Court at Auckland the key question was whether Herkt intended to kill at the time of the attack.

The defence argued Herkt suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and the anti-psychotic drug he was taking was affected by the alcohol he was drinking.

"If you think it's a reasonable possibility that he didn't realise Matthew Greenslade may die because of either the alcohol or the effect the alcohol on his medication ... you must find him not guilty of murder," Justice Moore told the jury.

Mr Kaye argued the inexplicable escalation of a "silly fight" was evidence Herkt was confused.

But prosecutor Gareth Kayes said Herkt had been given his medication and there was nothing to suggest he was suffering symptoms prior to the attack.

Herkt drank frequently and that night was no different, he said.

A nurse had told the court she was not concerned at all about Herkt's mental state prior to the attack, but said alcohol affected his medication and condition, Justice Moore said.

During the trial, Mr Greenslade's neighbour said Herkt came to his house bloody-faced, asking for a cricket bat, but when he handed the accused a broken axe handle, Herkt asked for a knife instead.

The Crown argued that proved he thought the handle wasn't enough of a weapon for what he intended, Justice Moore said.

Herkt will be sentenced in December.