Partner pleaded with victim

By Melissa Nightingale

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Raeleen Rameka
Raeleen Rameka

Paul Kumeroa's partner had warned him not to wear red in Castlecliff, "but he didn't listen".

It was a red hoodie, given to Ms Topia years ago by a family member when she was cold, that made Mr Kumeroa the target of angry Black Power associates.

The High Court at Whanganui heard this week how Ms Topia was nearby when Mr Kumeroa was murdered in Cross St on the night of September 23, 2008.

In a retrial that began on Monday, the jury of 11 and Justice Rebecca Ellis have heard how defendant Raeleen Matewai Noyle Rameka was one of four people in a car travelling through Castlecliff that night.

The group had a run-in with Mongrel Mob associates earlier that day.

The Crown says there were two more incidents that day where the group initiated conflicts with people they thought were "dog shits", which is Black Power slang for those connected to the Mongrel Mob.

When the group saw Mr Kumeroa walking home along Cross St in red, the Mongrel Mob colour, two of them attacked him, leaving him with fatal injuries.

Clarke McCallum and Daniel Craig Rippon were convicted of his murder, while the driver of the car, Jamie Ahsin, was convicted of manslaughter.

Rameka faces a manslaughter charge. Crown prosecutor Lance Rowe accepted Rameka took no part in the attack, but said she shared a "common intention" with the others.

But defence lawyer Elizabeth Hall says she did not share this common intention, and "being in the car isn't enough to be guilty in this case".

She and Mr Rowe will give their closing addresses to the jury this morning, and Justice Ellis will sum up the case either today or Monday morning.

The jury heard on Tuesday how Mr Kumeroa had been arguing with Ms Topia moments before the attack.

Reading Ms Topia's evidence to the jury, Mr Rowe said the pair had been walking home, arguing.

Ms Topia walked away from Mr Kumeroa and waited on a corner for a few minutes before heading back to where she'd left him.

But she heard shouting, and didn't want to be around if Mr Kumeroa "lashed out at someone".

"I could see a figure, all dark clothing, but not for long ... it wasn't Paul."

Ms Topia saw a car parked nearby but couldn't see Mr Kumeroa.

"When I looked around the corner it was all quiet, which made me scared," she said in her statement.

She left, and went home.

About an hour later, police called her to say Mr Kumeroa was in the hospital.

"I would tell him not to wear the red jersey, but he wouldn't listen ... living in Castlecliff, it often causes friction if a certain colour is worn in an area," Ms Topia said.

After the attack, witnesses say the red jersey was nowhere to be seen.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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