Text messages presented to jury in murder trial

By Edward Gay

Jiayi 'Kiko' Li, whose body was found in the boot of her abandoned car. Photo / supplied
Jiayi 'Kiko' Li, whose body was found in the boot of her abandoned car. Photo / supplied

Two men who planned to kidnap and kill a woman for money sent text messages to each other in the days leading up to the killing, one of which read: "Of course, kidnap whoever is rich. Whoever has money. Kill hostage as soon as getting the money'', a court has heard.

Honglin Yu is on trial at the High Court at Auckland and denies murdering Jiayi "Kiko'' Li and stealing her bank card.

The Crown says the two men invited Kiko out for a driving lesson before driving out to West Auckland where she was stabbed to death in May last year.

Kiko's body was found with 22 stab wounds, one of which pierced her heart, in the boot of her abandoned car in Hamilton.

The jury have seen CCTV footage of Kiko with the two men as they stopped to get petrol just hours before she was killed.

Kiko then received a text message from a friend, Li Liu, asking her to drop her and her boyfriend at a tow truck yard because their car had been towed.

Ms Liu told the court that Yu, Kiko and another man picked them up and drove them to the tow truck yard in May, last year.

She said Kiko drove to the tow truck yard but swapped seats with Yu when they left.

"She had a word with me saying Evan [Yu] wanted her to leave,'' Ms Liu said.

"I thought they had somewhere to go so I decided to let them go first ... I felt it was unusual because they never behave like that.''

Yesterday Crown prosecutor Aaron Perkins said police believed Kiko was in the front passenger seat when she was killed.

The jurors also had a string of text messages read to them by Detective Sergeant Jason McIntosh. The messages were sent between Yu and Yongxin Li in the days leading up to Kiko's disappearance.

Yu - Yongxin Li: "Oh ... I even have the thought of killing people ... Who do you find disagreeable? I will help you fix him.''

Yongxin Li - Yu: "If killing people can bring money, I will also kill.''

Yu - Yongxin Li: "Let the two of us make a plan to kidnap someone ...''

Yongxin Li - Yu "After the kidnapping, how to ask for money? Any experience? Where to put after the kidnapping.''

Yu - Yongxin Li: "Call the family in China ... the main problem is where to put. Others wont be a problem.''

Yongxin Li - Yu: "On a mountain? Kidnap whom?''

Yu - Yongxin Li: "Of course, kidnap whoever is rich/ Whoever has money ... Kill the hostage as soon as getting the money.''

Yongxin Li - Yu: "Um, ok. Where to put! Had better kidnap a female! Can also f***.''

Yesterday Yu's lawyer Mark Edgar urged the jury to keep in mind the possibility that his client had changed his mind about the killing.

He pointed to another text message from his client days before the killing which said: "I've obtained $2000. Put our plan on hold.''

Yu's friend Yongxin Li pleaded guilty to murdering Kiko and has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 16 years.

The trial is set down for three weeks and will hear from 44 witnesses.

- APNZ

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