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Miles murder trial: accused's intent explored

Tue 9 Apr 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News

Gavin Gosnell The intent of the killer and the relationships between troubled gay teen Hayden Miles, his killer Gavin Gosnell and Nicolette Vaux-Phillips were explored today in the trial of Gosnell for the murder of Miles. Vaux-Phillips, 19, confirmed to defence lawyer Craig Ruane that there had been no animosity from Gosnell, 28, towards Miles before the day of the fatal assault which has been described in court as "brutal and prolonged." Ruane suggested that the specific trigger for the assault was Miles ‘claim that Vaux-Philips was using Gosnell and didn't actually like him. He described Vaux-Phillips’ relationship with 15-year-old Miles as being in the nature of a big sister who kept an eye on the younger youth, who had a history of foster homes, youth court appearances, regular drinking bouts and some drug use, and she agreed with that. Ruane also suggested to Vaux-Phillips that Gosnell's words and actions after the assault, including placing a sheet and blanket over the injured youth as he lay unconscious on the couch and suggesting that Miles would leave in the morning, indicated that killing Miles was not the accused's intent. Summing up that line of questioning Ruane said of Gosnell: "He never said anything to you about wanting to kill him? There was no planning to kill him?” Vaux-Phillips replied that she didn't know. Ruane suggested that it was actually an assault that went too far to which the witness replied "Yup." Crown Lawyer Barnaby Hawes showed Vaux-Phillips a photo of a handyman's green electric jig saw and asked if it was similar to the tool used to cut up Miles body. She confirmed it was. Vaux-Phillips told the court that after Miles was dead and his body disposed of in two recently used graves, Gosnell told her that if anyone asked about Hayden Miles' disappearance she should say that some people came round overnight and beat him up and that in the morning he was gone. The cross-examination of Vaux-Phillips has continued throughout most of the morning. Gosnell is wearing a plain white shirt and has continued staring down throughout the proceedings, having no interaction with anyone, including his lawyer. His lawyer has directed the jury to consider whether he is guilty of the murder or alternatively the manslaughter of the gay teenager. A large group of Miles’ friends and family is in the public gallery    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 9th April 2013 - 11:53am

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