Israel Kaihau says he lied to police about killing an
expatriate New Zealander at Waihi Beach early on New Year's
Day because he feared the death penalty.
The 19-year-old has admitted to killing 64-year-old Robert
Wilkinson, who died of a stab wound to the head on January 3,
but denies it was murder.
Kaihau gave evidence at the High Court at Hamilton yesterday
where he is on trial and said he lied when being questioned
by police because he was "scared of getting the death
But Crown prosecutor Ross Douch said the suggestion from
Kaihau, who left Waihi College at 16, was "absolute rubbish".
"On what possible basis could an 18- or 19-year-old believe
there was the death penalty in New Zealand ?" he asked.
"I wondered if it happened in America it would happen in New
Zealand too," said Kaihau.
Mr Douch said Kaihau had a clear understanding of the system
after he made a "concerted effort" to get rid of evidence.
Kaihau burned the T-shirt he was wearing on the night of the
attack and threw his jeans and the Swiss Army pocket knife
that he killed Mr Wilkinson with in the rubbish.
The court also heard how he had cut his rat's tail off the
day after he committed the crime.
Kaihau had earlier said he was trying to get home after
several hours of drinking at a friend's 18th birthday party
at Citrus Ave despite being under curfew conditions at the
He said after he ran away from police near the Waihi Beach
surf club he injured his leg on some wire.
Kaihau tried to sneak through properties in the area to avoid
a heavy police presence when he encountered Mrs Wilkinson who
asked him to leave the Beach Rd property.
He went to the rear but because of his injured leg couldn't
climb the fence and came back to the front of the house where
he claims he fell asleep on the driveway.
"My head was spinning and I was dizzy," he said.
Not long after, Mr Wilkinson tried to rouse him.
Kaihau said he reacted when Mr Wilkinson stood on his injured
"I just got a fright and wanted to get out of there, I
thought if I stabbed him in the arm I could escape," he said.
Asked if it was his intention to kill Mr Wilkinson, Kaihau
said it wasn't.
"No way, I didn't even think that was going to happen."
"I just freaked out, I woke up and there was this guy over
"When I got up he was like this (hands holding his face), I
knew I had got him in the face but I thought it was the cheek
Kaihau said the altercation was over in about five seconds.
He then ran back to his friend's house on Citrus Ave.
Earlier the court heard from pathologist Dr Simon Stables who
said Mr Wilkinson died from a stab wound that entered the
left side of his head above his ear.
The blade plunged at least 8.5 cm into the middle part of Mr
Wilkinson's brain causing severe bleeding.
Mr Wilkinson, he said, would have lost consciousness "very
quickly" and control of his speech, right arm and right side
of his face.
Kaihau told the court he got dressed up for the new year's
celebrations and took his pocket knife with him because he
thought it would be "handy".
The defence and Crown will deliver their closing submissions
- By James Ihaka of the New Zealand Herald