By LOUISA CLEAVE
The man who killed interior designer David McNee claims he will expose four other "high-profile" men who paid him for sex.
Phillip Layton Edwards is serving a nine-year sentence for the manslaughter of Mr McNee last year.
Since he was moved from Mt Eden Prison to Auckland Prison at Paremoremo last week, 24-year-old Edwards has tried to send letters to four Auckland men asking for money.
He allegedly told the men he would tell the media that they paid him for sex. If true, that could raise further questions about the so-called "homosexual panic" defence that some commentators allege saved Edwards from a murder conviction.
At the trial, Edwards' lawyer, Roy Wade, argued that his client was guilty of manslaughter because he never intended to kill Mr McNee. The defence said Edwards was paid to perform a sex act upon himself and that he was provoked when Mr McNee violated their "no touching" agreement.
A prison source told the Weekend Herald: "He's not ashamed of what he did [prostitution] because he says he is not gay. He just wants money out of it.
"I don't think he is lying because he has nothing to lose."
Guards would not send Edwards' letters because they viewed them as extortion, the source said.
Edwards, who has a television and stereo in his cell, punched walls when his letters were rejected and broke his hand. He has not revealed the names of the four men to other inmates in the medium- to low-security wing.
The vice-president of the Auckland District Law Society, Gary Gotlieb, said even if the information was true and if the Crown knew about the other men before the murder trial, he doubted whether the information could be used as evidence.
It had to be proved that the evidence was credible and so compelling and necessary for the trial that it could not be ignored.
But Mr Gotlieb questioned how the evidence would be obtained.
"Those people were not going to go along and say that [they paid Edwards for sex acts] anyway."
Neville Creighton, from Auckland Gay and Lesbian Welfare, said if Edwards had engaged in homosexual activity of his own free will, he could not claim he was pushed into it.
Mr Wade said he had not seen or spoken to his client since he was moved from Mt Eden Prison last week.
Edwards was living on the streets when Mr McNee picked him up in central Auckland.
Prisoners' mail is checked constantly. Edwards might be disciplined in jail, but he is unlikely to face charges.
By LOUISA CLEAVE