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Attack victim was "kind, gentle, mild-mannered"

Tue 5 Apr 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Ihaia Gillman-Harris The gay man who died after being attacked in an Auckland motel in December 2014 has been described today as kind, loving, gentle, and mild-mannered during the trial of the two teenagers charged with his murder. Speaking in the High Court at Auckland, one of Gillman-Harris's sisters, Hirata Harris, said the victim was from a young age the most gentle of her six brothers. "Ihaia was the more gentle one, mild-mannered, kind and loving" she said of the man the defense has labelled a "predator". "Anger and aggressiveness were not in his psyche." He was very close to his father who had died just months before the attack, she said, and had spent considerable time in Northland caring for his ailing parent. Harris detailed her brother's movements in the two days leading up to the December 27 attack. He spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with extended family at her Wellington area home, she said. Although she had understood he would be staying on for a week he decided to drive back to Wellington through Boxing Day evening. Her last communication with him was a text he sent from Taupo. Harris said she had "always known he was gay, but he was my brother and those sort of differences did not come into play." She described Gillman-Harris, 54, as overweight and with health and fitness issues. He was a car enthusiast, owning two Rolls Royces, a BMW, the Range Rover he was driving on the day of the attack and several other cars. As Harris gave her evidence the co-accused, Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist and Beauen Wallace-Loretz, sat calmly in the dock. In the public gallery some of Gillman-Harris's family, including a brother and another sister, and their supporters wiped moist eyes. Others to give evidence this afternoon included residents of the Pakuranga area where Gillman-Harris's Range Rover was found after the fatal attack, allegedly left there by the two attackers.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 5th April 2016 - 5:44pm

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