Pair found guilty in motel murder trial

Beauen Wallace-Loretz and Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist in court
Beauen Wallace-Loretz and Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist in court

Two teenagers have been found guilty of murdering Ihaia Gillman-Harris at the Ascot Motel in Epsom in 2014.

The nine women and three men of the jury reached its decision after a four week trial in the High Court at Auckland.

Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist, 19, and Beauen Wallace-Loretz, 18, were accused of beating Mr Gillman-Harris, 54, to death and robbing him at the motel on December 27, 2014.

The jury had been deliberating since retiring on Thursday afternoon. Both defendants have been found guilty of three charges -- murder, aggravated robbery and unlawfully taking a car.

Nattrass-Bergquist bent over and held his head in his hands as the guilty verdicts were read out.

The judge told family members and the jury, "It's been a difficult time for all of you, and this will be a difficult moment."

He warned the public against "calling out", but that didn't stop one person from swearing as the verdicts were read out.

The judge then praised the jury for their "diligence" during the "difficult case".

The pair will reappear in court on May 24 for sentencing.

Pre-sentence reports will be prepared by probation officers before sentencing and will shed light on their backgrounds.

"All of those matters will be carefully considered before they are sentenced," the judge said.

"I feel a wee bit beside myself at the moment, but at the end of the day, justice was done," says Maungarangi Harris, a spokesman for victim's family.

"I can't get over it, it's just starting to sink in now. It's been a long few weeks and I'm just glad it's all finished."

The prosecution claimed the pair convinced Mr Gillman-Harris to drive them to a motel where they murdered him before taking his money and car.

But the defence said the older man was a predator who tried to sexually assault one of the teens and they only attacked him in self-defence.

The prosecution produced text messages sent between the defendants while they were in the company of Mr Gillman-Harris before he was killed, which included: "should we roll him?" and "ima f**k a gay c*** up".

Prosecutor David Johnstone alleged the teens told Mr Gillman-Harris they would perform a sexual act with him before having him drive to cash machines to withdraw $400, then heading to a motel room where he was killed.

A pathologist found Mr Gillman-Harris had suffered about five impacts to his head and serious bruising to his body.