Guilty of partner’s murder
A man accused of severely beating his partner, killing her, has been found guilty of murder after less than an hour of deliberations.
Jamie Te Hiko, 44, has been on trial in the High Court in Rotorua accused of murdering Queenie Karaka, also known as Selena or Nina Thompson, at their home in Atiamuri in April 2016.
The jury retired at 10.45am on Tuesday to consider their verdict, reaching it around 11.35am.
Extra security was brought in as the verdict was delivered in front of a pack public gallery full of family and friends of both Te Hiko and Thompson.
There were gasps of relief from Thompson’s family as the words ‘‘guilty’’ were read out.
Te Hiko instead stood motionless, showing little visible emotion. He will be sentenced on April 28.
Te Hiko always maintained that while he caused the injuries that ultimately killed Thompson, he did not know they would kill her at the time.
He gave evidence during the trial and said he beat Thompson because she wouldn’t tell him who she was allegedly cheating on him with.
Te Hiko said he hit her approximately 10 times, not 70 like the pathologist who examined Thomspon had testified.
‘‘A little white man might have to hit someone 70 times,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m like four or five.’’
When his rage subsided, he lifted her into the bed, undressed her from her bloody clothes and placed her in a blanket.
‘‘I was saying sorry my darling for doing that,’’ he said.
Te Hiko said he slept in the room with Thompson’s head on his arm but when he woke the next morning he couldn’t wake her.
During her closing submission on Monday Crown prosecutor Amanda Gordon said Te Hiko was in full control, and knew what he was doing when he assaulted Thompson.
‘‘The crown says there is no doubt and that you [jury] can have no doubt, that Nina Thompson died as a result of a brutal, savage, rage fuelled assault,’’ she said.
‘‘A bashing, in the defendant’s own words, in which she stood no chance.’’ Hale said the following three months after diagnosis were the hardest.
‘‘Dante was ripped out of school, pumped with drugs and medicine and had to get used to needles. Seeing him go through everything was really hard,’’ she said.
Hale said having access to free accommodation at Ronald Mcdonald House was invaluable.
‘‘Having your child go through something like this is hard enough, you don’t want the added stress of worrying about where to stay and Ronald Mcdonald House was a hop skip and a walk from Starship,’’ she said.
‘‘They went out of their way to eliminate any unnecessary stress for me and my family.’’
Thanks to ongoing treatment things are now looking up for Dante.
‘‘By the time he is eight and a half he should be fully cured and there will be no looking back,’’ Hale said. ‘‘He has been a superstar.’’ She encouraged people to donate to Ronald Mcdonald House.
‘‘If you see a box drop something in there because you just never know,’’ she said
A jury has found Jamie Te Hiko guilty of murdering Nina Thompson (pictured inset) in April last year.