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Defence: Brown 'may have drugged killer'

Tue 18 Dec 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

11.30am: Ronald Brown, the elderly gay Auckland man who was killed in his home just over a week ago, was seen by his killer as a sexual predator who may have spiked a drink as a prelude to rape, according to a statement made moments ago by the accused's lawyer. Ferdinand Ambach, 29, a tourist from Hungary, has been Ronald Brown charged with murdering Brown in his Onehunga home in the early hours of Saturday 8th, after the pair had been drinking at a nearby bar. Neighbours called the police, saying they were hearing piercing screams and shattering glass. Police found Brown severely injured but clinging to life downstairs in his trashed and blood-spattered home. Ambach was still upstairs. Brown died two days later when his life support was turned off. Ambach's lawyer, James Falauto, addressing media outside the Auckland High Court, said Ambach and Brown had had about three drinks each at the bar when Brown, 69, invited the younger man home. The pair apparently took a dozen of beer with them, and Ambach says he subsequently also drank from a bottle of bourbon which was already at the home. Falauto says Ambach claims he then had a series of memory blackouts but recalls sitting downstairs with Brown. "Seductive music was started and the lights were dimmed," says Falauto, and Brown allegedly fondled Ambach, ending up in the groin area. Ambach claims that sometime later Brown was upstairs, calling Ambach to join him. "Then there was a struggle with knives." Falauto says that during the struggle both men were armed with knives and that this is supported by a cut to the hand Ambach says he sustained trying to grab a knife Brown was wielding. Ambach says he then remembers standing dressed only in his underwear screaming for help in Hungarian. Falauto says Ambach's fear of being sexually violated was what drove the struggle. "[Brown] may have been a sexual predator, there are people out there who do this sort of thing," said Falauto outside the court. He characterised Ambach as a "reasonable man." Minutes earlier police had opposed Ambach's bail application saying he is a significant flight risk, that the passport confiscated from him may not be his only passport, and because of the violent nature of the crime. Police also referred to Ambach's "unusual behaviour" on the night. When police arrived at the crime scene Ambach was seen throwing a double bed from an upstairs window onto the front lawn. Police believe Ambach is a danger to the public. The police say four officers were required to restrain Ambach as "he was so distraught that Mr Brown had indecently assaulted him and perhaps raped him and had then fallen down the stairs seriously injuring himself." Before the bail application could be determined Falauto asked for a delay to give time for matters relating to Ambach in his home country to be investigated. Ambach is reportedly wanted in Hungary to face fraud charges. The delay was granted by judge Anne Kiernan. Ambach has been remanded in custody until 15 January when the bail application will be re-heard. In his court appearance Ambach, of olive complexion and solidly built, appeared agitated and disheveled, wearing ill-fitting clothes which had been borrowed from the remand prison. Summing up outside the court, Falauto, who has visited the crime scene and viewed six hours of video taped evidence given by Ambach, thanked the large media contingent for their interest, saying it is important that the public knows there are two sides to the story. Gay venue staff, or men who have had any contact with Ronald Brown in recent years, are asked to contact Detective Constable Jason Malcolm at the Glen Innes police station, phone 524 1958 or 524 1921. Malcolm says the confidentiality of any people providing assistance will be respected.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Tuesday, 18th December 2007 - 11:49am

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