James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Stabbing murder accused: 'I just got a fright'

Israel Kaihau has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Robert Murray Wilkinson. Photo / Christine Cornege
Israel Kaihau has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Robert Murray Wilkinson. Photo / Christine Cornege

A jury has heard from a man accused of killing an expatriate New Zealander at Waihi Beach how he stabbed the man because he got a fright after the victim stood on his injured leg.

Israel Kaihau, who is on trial for the murder of Robert Wilkinson, is giving evidence at the High Court in Hamilton.

Mr Wilkinson died in Waikato Hospital two days after Kaihau stabbed him in the side of the head on January 1.

Kaihau told the court how he had injured his leg on some wire while running away from police near the Waihi Beach surf club earlier that evening.

The 19-year-old had been drinking for several hours at a friend's 18th birthday party on Citrus Ave despite being on bail and under curfew conditions.

Kaihau said he wanted to return to his Waihi home by taking shortcuts through people's properties because of a heavy police presence in the area.

But he was spotted by Luise Wilkinson on the Beach Rd property and was asked to leave. He went to the rear but because of his injured leg couldn't climb the fence.

Kaihau told the court he returned to the front of the house where he fell asleep on the driveway.

"My head was spinning and I was dizzy,'' he said.

Not long after, Mr Wilkinson tried to rouse him from his sleep.

Kaihau said he reacted when Mr Wilkinson stood on his injured leg and he tried to stab Mr Wilkinson in his arm with the Swiss Army pocket knife he was carrying.

"I just got a fright and wanted to get out of there. I thought if I stabbed him in the arm I could escape,'' he said.

Asked if it was his intention to kill Mr Wilkinson, Kaihau said it wasn't.

"No way, I didn't even think that was going to happen.''

"When I got up he was like this (hands holding his face), I knew I had got him in the face but I thought it was the cheek or something.''

Kaihau said the altercation was over in about five seconds. He then ran back to his friend's house on Citrus Ave.

Earlier the court heard from pathologist Simon Stables who said Mr Wilkinson died from a stab wound that entered the left side of his head above and forward of his ear.

The blade plunged at least 8.5cm into the middle part of Mr Wilkinson's brain, causing severe bleeding.

He said the blade went through the areas of the brain that held spinal fluid.

Mr Wilkinson, he said, would have lost consciousness "very quickly'' and lost control of his speech, right arm and right side of his face.

The jury of six men and six women also heard how the knife used in the attack has never been found by police.

Meanwhile, a prisoner who heard Kaihau revealing how he had killed Mr Wilkinson at Waihi Beach said he was "disgusted" by the revelation.

Today the High Court at Hamilton heard from a prisoner, who accompanied Kaihau back to Waikeria Prison following a court appearance earlier this year.

Robert Wilkinson, known as 'Murray' has been remembered as a 'great guy' after he died from stab wounds. Photo / supplied
Robert Wilkinson, known as 'Murray' has been remembered as a 'great guy' after he died from stab wounds. Photo / supplied

The man, whose name was suppressed by Justice Robert Dobson, said Kaihau was sitting in a segregated part of the prison van but they were able to converse through holes in the Perspex barrier.

"I asked him if he was the person who killed the victim and he told me he was being accused of it."

"He told me and another associate of mine yes, he did do it. ..he told me he was drinking, pissed, and just did it."

The man said he was "quite disgusted" by the revelation.

"I asked him did you know he was a husband, a father and a grandfather and did you know that you had taken away all the stuff from his family?"

The trial continues.

- NZ Herald

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