WARNING: Graphic content
A brothel manager who murdered his colleague claims he was attacked with a stick before fighting back.
And Jiann-Hwa Maa told a court he thought Zion Gutnik was "all right" when he placed a plastic bag on his colleague's head and dragged the limp body across the floor.
Maa today gave evidence at a disputed facts hearing at the High Court in Auckland, eight days after pleading guilty to murder.
Gutnik, 30, died at Club 574 in Epsom in March last year.
Maa, 61, said he argued with Gutnik before the killing when the younger manager turned up late to work at the upmarket suburb's brothel.
"I asked him 'why are you late every time?' He didn't talk. He came and hit me on the jaw and we started fighting each other," Maa said through an interpreter.
"I thought it was weird. I don't know why he hit me."
Maa claimed Gutnik got a stick, and the pair fought in front of the toilet.
He said he disarmed Gutnik and hit him with the stick before dropping it.
"I saw the blood on the ground. He fell down on the ground. I'd never encountered anything like this before."
Beads from a chandelier had been dislodged and Maa said he put these and other items - including some of Gutnik's teeth - in a black plastic bag.
"He was breathing at that time. I thought he was alive."
Defence counsel Kelly-Ann Stoikoff asked if Maa knew Gutnik was still alive when the older man dragged him to a sleepout.
Maa told the court Gutnik was only "a little bit" injured.
Stoikoff also asked Maa why he then ran away and never called police.
"I couldn't think, I didn't think at all. I was scared, just very scared."
Stoikoff told the court Gutnik was still breathing when Maa took him to the sleepout, and the older man never intended to kill.
"Things happened too quickly for him to have thought about the consequences."
Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey asked why Maa placed a rubbish bag on Gutnik's head and closed the sleepout door.
"I don't know. I thought he was all right," Maa replied. "I was not wanting the blood to get on the floor."
Asked if he'd wanted to kill Gutnik, Maa replied: "Of course not."
Maa started crying and said he just wanted to protect himself, and felt bad for Gutnik.
"You broke his jaw with such force that teeth came out. You hit the back of his head with such force that you fractured his skull. How did you partially amputate his right ear?" McCoubrey asked.
"I was not able to tell...how bad his injury was. I'm not the inspector. Are you putting me at fault of something?" Maa replied.
"I hope I'd made that obvious but yes, I very much am," McCoubrey said. "This was a ferocious attack in which you meant to kill Mr Gutnik."
McCoubrey said Gutnik was potentially unconscious when the blow was struck, or conscious but taken by surprise.
McCoubrey said Gutnik had prevailed in an earlier fight with Maa, and this caused the older man to lose face.
Maa denied this, and also insisted he had no hatred for Gutnik.
"It's explicit in the plea...that the injuries that he meant to cause, he knew were likely to cause death," Justice Ian Gault told the court.
Maa was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on August 27.