Street dispute led to fatal gang fight

BY AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2010

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A Hamilton teen involved in a deadly street fight between rival youth gangs said he was set upon for walking down a "Mongrel Mob road".

Epiha Apiti gave evidence at the High Court in Hamilton yesterday about the night he and three friends were confronted by Bloods gang members while walking down Pine Ave in Melville.

Edward Ngatai-Emery, 18, was stabbed four times during the ensuing fight.

He died eight days later due to internal bleeding.

Hone Piripi Anderson, a Crips gang associate, is charged with murdering Mr Ngatai-Emery and attempting to murder James Taplin Williams.

Jurors were told Mr Apiti, Anderson and two associates were walking along Pine Ave on the night of August 6 last year when they were set upon by Mr Taplin-Williams, Mr Ngatai-Emery and others.

The two groups argued as Mr Apiti was pursued down the street.

Mr Apiti said Anderson tried to reason with Mr Taplin-Williams' group, saying he just wanted to walk a friend home.

"[They were] telling us to walk around and this was a Mongrel Mob road."

In earlier evidence, Anderson recalled stabbing Mr Taplin-Williams as he moved to avoid a punch.

Anderson then swung the knife at Mr Ngatai-Emery who, he said, tried to kick him in the head.

Anderson was interviewed by police about the fight on August 16, two days after Mr Ngatai-Emery died.

He initially denied involvement in the stabbing and said he wasn't part of a youth gang.

His blue and white bandanna was for blowing his nose, he said.

Blue is associated with the Black Power and Crips youth gang.

During cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Mark Sturm, Anderson said he was scared to tell the truth for fear of being separated from his daughter.

"I felt gutless and I felt stink and sad," he said.

"I didn't mean to use the pocket knife, I didn't even want to pull it out. That's why I felt gutless."

Mr Sturm said Anderson was a "skilful and accomplished liar" and noted the accused's knife was never found.

Anderson said he threw the knife away because it had blood on it.

"I don't want to look at that. Do you think I want to look at blood?"

In his opening address, defence counsel Michael Robb said the principle of self defence lay at the heart of the trial.

Mr Robb said Anderson considered himself to be outnumbered by angry, drunk gang members who had attacked his younger brother.

Anderson presented the knife to warn his attackers away.

The trial continues.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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