A man currently serving time in prison for kidnapping a
Hamilton woman has told a High Court trial he had no idea she
was destined to be killed.
Rae Colleen Portman, 33, was four months pregnant when she
went missing in June last year. Her body was found dumped in
a pit and covered in rubbish bags on an Ardmore farm, near
Auckland, three months later.
Key Crown witness Lee Rigby this afternoon began giving his
evidence to the High Court at Auckland.
Paraire Te Awa, known as 'Friday', and Dean Michael Addison
have both pleaded not guilty to charges related to her death.
Te Awa has been charged with the murder and kidnap of Ms
Portman, while Addison faces a charge of kidnap and two drugs
Rigby recounted the final hours of Ms Portman's life to the
court, as he described driving with her bound in a sheet and
duct tape in the boot of a black Mazda Astina while he
followed Te Awa "into the middle of nowhere".
Rigby said he thought they were heading to the Hauraki
Plains, however no final destination was discussed.
He said he was "absolutely" scared of Te Awa and took part in
the kidnapping out of fear for his own life.
"I've seen what he could do to other people."
Rigby said he thought Ms Portman was going to be left in the
"middle of nowhere".
"I thought that's what the plan was. I thought she would dust
herself off and carry on."
Instead, they drove into the night and after stopping at the
home of a friend of Te Awa's to pick up an old, rusty,
long-handled axe, they continued to an isolated industrial
location, Rigby said.
Te Awa would check on Ms Portman whenever they stopped and
would keep repeating the same line, "it's all going to be
over soon", Rigby said.
When they finally stopped, Rigby said his nerves were going
"through the roof".
"I was freaking out, to put it lightly."
Te Awa then removed some motorbike strops from the car,
threaded a car's door handle through them and tied them into
a knot, Rigby said.
Te Awa placed the loop around Portman's neck and began to
tighten it , he told the court.
Rigby said Te Awa continued to twist the door handle attached
to the strop, tightening the loop and ignoring Ms Portman's
pleas for him to stop.
The next time he looked, Te Awa was removing the strop from
Portman's neck, Rigby said.
"I don't know what a dead body looks like ... but she was
After taking off the strop, Te Awa also removed the sheet
Portman was wrapped in, checked her pulse and then sighed,
They then returned to the property where they picked up the
axe and pushed the black Mazda, with Portman's body in it,
into a corner of the property and covered it with a
trampoline, he said.
Rigby said Te Awa later told him he had taken care of the
body and the car and that "no one would ever find her".
Te Awa threatened to kill him if he told anyone what had
happened, Rigby said.
Earlier today, Rigby admitted to having a "very short-lived
affair"with Ms Portman, who had a boyfriend in Hamilton, but
after that he only met her at the Addisons' house.
Rigby - who is serving time in prison for his role in Ms
Portman's kidnap - described her as someone who "freely
talked" about her involvement in the drugs world, in which
she would transfer and distribute pseudoephedrine, the
substance used to make methamphetamine.
The trial continues tomorrow.
- By Brendan Manning and
Patrice Dougan of APNZ