Ihaia Gillman-Harris The defense in the trial for the murder of gay man Ihaia Gillman-Harris has this morning presented a scenario in which a predatory Gillman-Harris groomed the two accused youths for several days, plying them with alcohol, cigarettes and transport until he sexually assaulted one of them in an Epsom, Auckland motel. Gillman-Harris, 54, died hours afterwards, on 27 December 2014, and Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist and Beauen Wallace-Loretz, both then 17 years old, were subsequently charged with murder. Defense counsel says evidence will show that Gillman-Harris was in the habit of visiting a website featuring 'broke straight boys' having gay sex for money, and that he had an obsession with young men such as a rough-sleeping car window-washer. It was also suggested that Gillman-Harris was in the habit of cruising central Auckland to find young and broke men for sex, using his numerous vehicles to avoid detection by security cameras. The jury heard that Gillman-Harris had only known his attackers for eight days before the attack and that in the hours leading up to the attack he had offered Wallace-Loretz money for oral sex. Defense says ensuing txts between the accused suggesting that the pair then decided to rob and beat Gillmam-Harris up were merely 'trash talk' and they had no prior intent to attack. It was suggested that Wallace-Loretz became indignant when Gillman-Harris began to play a porno video in the motel unit and that when he slammed the laptop shut Gillman-Harris reacted with extreme anger by throwing him onto a bed, grabbing him by the throat and holding him down as he attempted to sexually violate him. “I hope you haven't experienced that sort of constriction on your throat... strangulation and violation... it would be terrifying... [Gillman-Harris] was angry and aggressive, the boys were frightened” the defense told the jury, adding “The law says you are entitled to defend yourself or act in the defense of another person.” Nattrass-Bergquist then allegedly returned from the bathroom and rushed to rescue his close friend. A scuffle ensued during which Wallace-Loretz hit Gillman-Harris over the head with a bottle of spirits. The pair left the motel hurriedly in Gillman-Harris's Range Rover. Motel staff called an ambulance when they noticed the victim 25 minutes later bleeding and dazed outside the unit Gillman-Harris had booked the trio into shortly beforehand. The trial by jury continues in the High Court at Auckland. The accused have pleaded not guilty to murder.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Tuesday, 12th April 2016 - 1:37pm
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