Man left to die with box on head

Last updated 11:42 18/03/2014

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Two Auckland teens on trial for murder are alleged to have repeatedly punched and kicked the victim before putting a cardboard box over his head and leaving him to die on the side of the road.

John Adams, 17, and Joel Lo, 19, are accused of killing Tamati Tupe, 23, on September 30, 2012, in a sustained attack as he lay defenceless on the ground.

Tupe had been socialising with friends and family in Mt Wellington when he decided to retrieve his car from Otara.

As he set off walking, it is alleged he met Adams – who was 15 at the time and had been drinking for the previous 12 hours – when the teen put him in a headlock and began punching him in the face.

Crown prosecutor Michael Walker told the jury witnesses would give evidence that they had seen the accused beating Tupe while repeating the statement: "Who's your master? Who's my bitch? You're my bitch. I'm your master."

After dragging the victim down the street, Walker said Adams came to the house where the co-accused was staying.

It is alleged Lo joined him, wandering up Hillside Rd with the victim.

Local resident Hohepa Adams, who is not related to the accused, followed to see what was going on and found the pair punching and kicking Tupe.

Walker told the court Hohepa Adams yelled at Lo and John Adams to stop and when they did, he picked up the victim and told him to run off.

However, as Tupe staggered away, John Adams came running down the hill into him and barged him over.

Hohepa Adams is expected to tell the court how he watched the vicious attack continue before he returned home to rouse his girlfriend and her mother.

All three of them jumped into a car and drove to where the alleged assault took place.

Hohepa Adams told police he found Tupe on a grass verge in Hillside Rd behind a wheelie bin with a cardboard box on his head.

He checked the man's pulse and when he could not find one, he tried to resuscitate him.

When that was unsuccessful, emergency services were called and arrived 10 minutes later, shortly after which they pronounced Tupe dead.

An autopsy found he died because of severe blood haemorrhaging on the brain and blood blocking his airways.

John Adams' lawyer, Paul Borich, told the jury his client had been made a "scapegoat".

"Some people who were there are going to tell you lies," Borich said.

"A lot of them are going to look to protect themselves.

"Whilst he's [John Adams] a lot of things, he's not a murderer."

The trial in the High Court in Auckland is expected to last two weeks.

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