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A dark week

Mon 12 Dec 2011 In: Our Communities View at Wayback View at NDHA

The fatal bashing of a Wellington man has shocked the gay community, and comes as it's been revealed police believe a Christchurch teenager was murdered, and two people are about to be sentenced for attacks on gay men in Auckland. Phillip Cottrell Phillip Cottrell died in hospital yesterday Wellington journalist Phillip Cottrell was attacked while he was walking home from work at daybreak on Saturday. He had just finished a shift as overnight bulletins editor at Radio New Zealand on The Terrace, and was on Boulcott St when he was set upon. Cottrell suffered a condition that made his bones brittle and suffered both a broken neck and arm in the assault, along with head injuries. He died in Wellington Hospital surrounded by friends, colleagues and his sister and brother-in-law yesterday afternoon. Born and raised in the UK, Cottrell moved to New Zealand just over five years ago and was one of the original members of Queers Gone Kiwi, a Wellington group for gay immigrants. He made a number of friends through the network and his death has left the many in our community who loved him in states of utter shock and heartbreak. A team of 30 police staff is working on finding whoever is responsible for the killing so they can be brought to justice. Police seemed unaware of Cottrell's homosexuality until a question was asked at today's press conference. However, at this stage they believe the attack was entirely unprovoked and unrelated to his sexuality. Hayden Miles Hayden Miles is believed to have been murdered Just 15 when he went missing, police believe Christchurch teenager Hayden Miles was murdered on 22 August and have arrested a 27-year-old as-yet-unnamed man and charged him with the crime. An 18-year-old woman has also been charged with being an accessory after the fact. Detectives have also charged a 35-year-old Parklands man, Timothy Kuka, with robbing a cask of wine from Hayden on the day they believe he was murdered. The developments in the case come two months after Hayden's uncle appealed to the glbt community for any help it could provide in helping find the missing teenager, who police at one stage thought may have left Christchurch and headed north. Police are today searching the Ruru Lawn Cemetery, based on information Hayden's body might be there. His family and friends are utterly distraught at the news police believe he has been murdered. Hayden was a quiet teen with a passion for music, who battled depression and is reported to have had issues with drugs and alcohol. He spent a lot of time on Facebook, where his many online friends are now remembering him. Trevor Kaukau Trevor Kaukau is undergoing lengthy rehabilitation On Tuesday, 20-year-old part-time Otahuhu storeman Sitaleki Langi Koloamatangi will be sentenced for king-hitting 40-year-old Trevor Kaukau outside a K' Rd nightclub, then leaving him lying unconscious on the street. Koloamatangi went outside for a smoke in the early hours of 25 June, when he met Kaukau, who hit on him and according to Judge Roy Wade, made an "obscene suggestion" which Koloamatangi declined. The judge stated Koloamatangi hit Kaukau in the chin when he was propositioned again. The punch caused Kaukau to fall backwards and hit his head on the pavement, where he was left unconscious and bleeding from a head wound. Kaukau suffered brain damage and spent two weeks in an induced coma and had operations to relieve pressure on his brain, including one where part of his skull was removed. He is now in a rehabilitation centre where he continues to make slow progress. Judge Wade has said he will give Koloamatangi a shorter sentence for his early guilty plea and his clean record. He said his sentence would not be more than one year and he would also consider home detention and community detention. will be in Auckland District Court for the sentencing. Denis Phillips Denis Phillips was killed in July last year On Thursday, 17-year-old Willie Ahsee will be sentenced for the manslaughter of Denis Phillips, a 59-year-old gay man he stabbed in his Papakura home in July 2010. Phillips was a temporary non-sworn police officer who was painted by both the Crown and defence as having a "liking" for young men. The pair had been drinking in Phillips' home after a workout session. Ahsee gave evidence Phillips had touched his thigh trying to get to his "nut" that night, before touching his ear. He said both times he batted Phillips' hand away. In giving evidence he said he was extremely drunk and had blank spots from the night, and only grabbed a knife after being somehow knocked over in the kitchen as Phillips shouted at him. Ahsee said he just wanted to get out of the house and go home, but a fight ensued and he stabbed Phillips a total of four times in the upper body, with the initial stab wound Phillips' suffered in the kitchen proving fatal. will also be in court for this sentencing. We know many in our community are struggling right now. Please remember there is help out there if you need it: Phone 0800 OUTLINE or 0800 688 546  and Jacqui Stanford - 12th December 2011    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Monday, 12th December 2011 - 6:10pm

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