Self-defence claimed in motel murder case

Self-defence claimed in motel murder case

Teenage murder-accused Leonard Nattrass-Berquist has told the Auckland High Court he was sexually violated by Ihaia Gillman-Harris and attacked him in self-defence.

The 18-year-old and his friend, Beauen Wallace-Loretz, have pleaded not guilty to robbing and murdering the 54-year-old, who died on the operating table hours after he was beaten in a motel room on December 27, 2014.

Nattrass-Berquist told the court he met Gillman-Harris on December 19. He thought he was a nice guy, interested only in a friendship: "I was cool with that."

He claimed Gillman-Ihaia only wanted to be with him and Wallace-Loretz; he wasn't interested in other people joining them.

He said early on December 27, at about 2am, Gillman-Harris picked them up and drove them to Kingsland, where they drank alcohol -- about 18 cans of bourbon and cola -- provided by Gillman-Harris.

During the drinking session Wallace-Loretz pulled his friend aside and said Gillman-Harris had just made him an "indecent proposal".

"That's when he proposed Beauen...$1000 for oral sex...for Sonny to commit it on Beauen," Nattrass-Berquist told the court.

The proposal, he said, was turned down. 

Over a 90-minute period between 5am and 6:30am, the teenagers sent each other a "torrent of texts" -- more than 100 -- while in the car with Gillman-Harris.

Among the messages, they talked about  wanting to "roll" the older man and "ima f**k a gay c**t up".

"We didn't know how to deal with it. We just wrote what was in our head... I still can't believe what we said. It was so out of character," Nattrass-Berquist said.

But the three still drove to Ascot Motel about 8am. By 8:17am they were all in unit one.

A few minutes later Gillman-Harris put on a pornography video, which the defence said was an attempt to stimulate the boys. But Nattrass-Berquist wasn't interested and slammed the laptop shut.

"I didn't want to see that".

This, he said, angered Gillman-Harris who "swept him onto the bed and assaulted him".

The court heard he held one hand on Nattrass-Berquist's throat and he placed the other hand on his penis. He had his knee on his thigh to hold him.

"He was right in front of me, his eyes were black... He was so intimidating. He said we had 'dicked' him around for long enough; it was time to pay. He put me onto the bed."

He remembered his friend coming out of the bathroom and trying to help him.

"Beauen was trying to hit him... I was struggling to keep him down. I kicked Sonny. I remember him coming hard at me and we fell... He had both hands firmly round my neck... Next thing Beauen hit him on the head with the bottle."

He said he was terrified and felt detached from what was happening.

He said Gillman-Harris then told them he was sorry and asked them to leave. He said they took off in his car: "I just wanted to get somewhere safe."

He found out the following day that Gillman-Harris had died.

"Couldn't believe it at all -- scariest thing in my life. I didn't know what to say or think. I felt terrible. No matter what no one deserves that. I didn't think it would result in what happened. We [Beauen] consoled each other, crying. We were scared boys."