Murdered man's family say misinformation about death must stop

The family of a man allegedly murdered by a Hungarian tourist say they are upset and distressed by how he has been portrayed.

Ferdinand Ambach, 29, appeared in Auckland District Court today charged with the murder of 69-year-old Ronald James Brown.

Defence lawyer James Faleauto said Ambach believed he was drugged and may have been raped by Mr Brown.

Mr Brown was found badly beaten at his ground floor flat in Matiere Road, Onehunga, in the early hours of December 8 and died in hospital two days later after his life support was switched off.

Ambach was found in Mr Brown's home shortly after the attack and was initially charged with assault and intentional damage.

Police are also investigating whether Ambach is wanted in his own country.

Mr Brown's niece Tracey Evans said the family had become very distressed at the level of "misinformation and inaccuracies being reported by some media about my uncle and his lifestyle".

"Uncle Ron was much loved by all of us and is greatly missed by his family and large group of friends.

"We are all devastated by his violent assault and subsequent death."

Ms Evans said she found it distressing that speculation on the motives behind Mr Brown's violent beating were being "bandied about" .

"He's not here to defend himself and he wasn't able to defend himself when he was attacked.

"I and my family would very much appreciate it if further attacks on his character and lifestyle would cease while the prosecution of his accused killer is underway."

Ambach appeared in court wearing a Corrections Department blue jumpsuit and communicated with his lawyer through an interpreter.

Crown prosecutor Deborah Marshall opposed bail saying police considered Ambach a flight risk and were waiting for confirmation of his identity from Interpol.

Given the violent nature of the crime, police considered Ambach a danger to the public, she said.

Mr Faleauto began a bail application but withdrew it after several minutes saying it was sensible for his client to be remanded until background checks could be carried out.

Ambach maintained he was innocent of the charges against him in Hungary, he said.

Mr Faleauto said in a statement handed to media that Ambach alleges he met Mr Brown in an Onehunga bar where they drank together before he was invited back to Mr Brown's home.

Ambach said he was very drunk and "began fearing for his safety as Brown was acting inappropriately".

The statement said Ambach alleged Mr Brown made sexual advances toward him, including "touching his knees, neck and cupping [Ambach's] groin".

When Ambach tried to leave the house, he could not find a way out and became afraid.

Mr Brown allegedly went upstairs, turning off the lights and called for Ambach to join him.

Ambach said his memory became vague after this but recalled being "chased around a table by Mr Brown and of himself throwing objects" at him.

His next memory was of standing dressed only in his underwear screaming for help in Hungarian, the statement said.

"He remembered grabbing a knife Mr Brown was holding against his body and cutting his hand on it.

The statement said Ambach believed he may have been given a date rape drug.

"He remembers feeling very afraid that during the time that his mind wasn't functioning properly that he had been sexually violated."

Neighbours alerted police after hearing noise coming from the property and when they arrived Ambach was seen throwing a double bed from an upstairs window onto the front lawn.

Four police were required to restrain him because "he was so distraught that Mr Brown had indecently assaulted him perhaps raped him and then fallen down the stairs seriously injuring himself".

Ambach was not homosexual, the statement said.

Ambach is due to reappear in Auckland District Court for a bail application on January 15.


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