A young man who dropped a hefty cat statue on to the head of his mother's sleeping friend three times from shoulder height has been found guilty of murder.

A jury of seven women and five men returned their unanimous verdict in the High Court at Wellington today against Miramar painter and decorator Sean Dennis Brown.

The 27-year-old had admitted killing Harold Alamoti Taipa Skudder at Lower Hutt more than four years ago but pleaded not guilty to murder.

It was never a "whodunit" case, both Crown and defence lawyers told the jury.

There was no dispute about who was responsible for the death when Brown was arrested more than three years later. The question for the jury was whether he had acted with murderous intent.

His defence was one of provocation. Brown, a self-confessed alcoholic, claimed he was protecting himself, his mother and his younger brother, then aged 13, who were allegedly living in fear in their own home.

It took the jury members four hours to reach their verdict.

Mr Skudder, 38, who was separated from his partner and their four children, had asked if he could stay temporarily at the Brown family's two-bedroom Stokes Valley unit.

But he acted as though he owned the place and outstayed his welcome, the week-long trial heard.

The Browns were afraid of his reaction if he was asked to leave.

It was the night of Sean Brown's 23rd birthday, January 24, 2007, when he killed Mr Skudder. He had been drinking heavily and the rest of the household had gone to bed.

Mr Skudder was asleep on the floor in the lounge when Brown walked in. He picked up one of a matching pair of ornamental cats from beside the fireplace and used that as a weapon.

The 15.75kg statue has never been found but its duplicate was on display in the courtroom.

Mr Skudder started gurgling after the cat struck him on the head and face twice.

Brown admitted to police that he dropped the weighty statue a third time "to make sure he was gone."

Wrapping the bleeding man in bedding, he dragged the body to the window and threw it outside.

Brown then stuffed it into the boot of his mother's small car and drove to a remote bush clad area near Upper Hutt.

There, he rolled the body to the edge of Moonshine Hill Road and pushed it down a steep bank.

When he did not think it had gone far enough, Brown held on to a tree and shoved the bundled body further with his foot.

Mr Skudder's remains were finally recovered when police nabbed Sean Brown in March last year. He took them to the site.

Justice Ronald Young remanded Brown in custody. He will be sentenced on May 9.

- NZPA