Murder of Korean hitchhiker admitted

  • Breaking
  • 30/03/2010

Skinhead Shannon Brent Flewellen has admitted murdering South Korean student Jae Hyeon Kim on the West Coast near Charleston in late 2003.

He pleaded guilty before Justice John Fogarty in the High Court at Christchurch today, a few weeks before his scheduled trial.

Another West Coast man, Hayden McKenzie, has already admitted his role in the murder at a preliminary hearing in October 2008 and later took police to the student's gravesite, allowing his remains to be recovered and returned to his family.

Flewellen, a 30-year-old Nelson fisherman, now faces a life term for the murder and a non-parole term that the Crown will seek to have imposed at his sentencing in Christchurch on April 29.

He made a brief appearance in court with his wrists manacled to a belt. He has a shaven head and tattoos around his neck.

The police summary of facts said Mr Kim was a 25-year-old economics student touring New Zealand, staying at backpackers, or taking food and lodgings in return for casual work.

His emails to family and friends indicated people were friendly and he was enjoying himself on the trip.

His final eftpos transaction was recorded at a cafe bar in Westport on September 29, 2003.

While later hitchhiking, Mr Kim was picked up by Flewellen, McKenzie, and another man whose name is suppressed.

They talked as they drove south towards Greymouth, until McKenzie pulled into a layby north of 4 Mile River, south of Charleston, on the pretext of retrieving hidden items.

Two men returned to the car empty handed, and McKenzie then pretended the vehicle was stuck. He ordered the others to push it.

Flewellen grabbed Mr Kim from behind with his right forearm around the victim's throat in a choker hold and used his left hand to pull the arm tighter.

Mr Kim struggled unsuccessfully to get out of the hold but he was unable to breathe. His arms were flailing and his body started to convulse.

McKenzie approached and told Flewellen, "Nein Blut", which he believed meant "no blood" in German.

McKenzie held the victim's hands, effectively making him helpless until he stopped struggling and was dropped to the ground.

"With the victim now on the ground, Flewellen stomped on the neck area with his heavy boots and then stood on the victim's throat for a period to make sure that the victim was actually dead," the police summary stated.

Flewellen searched the body for money before he and McKenzie dragged the victim into the bush and threw away his backpack.

Flewellen later went back to the murder scene, retrieved the pack and clothing and returned to his home, where he burnt the contents.

McKenzie and Flewellen went back to the scene again next day, with a spade, and moved the body to another area where they dug a grave and buried it.

Because Mr Kim had only had intermittent contact with his family and friends, it was not until April 2004 that he was reported missing.



source: newshub archive