One of the first people on the scene after a half-naked Malaysian diplomat indecently assaulted a Wellington woman has spoken of his admiration for the victim.
Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail, 39, was to have faced trial in the High Court at Wellington yesterday, but instead admitted a charge of indecently assaulting Tania Billingsley.
A Crown summary of the offending was read to the court, although Rizalman, who was a defence attache at the Malaysian High Commission, disputes aspects of it.
It was revealed neighbours of Ms Billingsley came to her aid after she fought Rizalman off.
"She's already kicked the guy's arse once and it's good to see her being saved the bother of doing it again - because she totally kicked his arse. It was amazing," said a man who gave his name as Doug, a neighbour of Ms Billingsley's former flat in the suburb of Brooklyn.
"I was surprised and pleased that he pleaded guilty, at pretty much the last minute."
Doug, who responded to Ms Billingsley's scream, said he admired the way she stood up to Rizalman.
The Crown summary says that about 6.30pm on May 9, 2014, Ms Billingsley, who was 21, was at her flat, home alone, watching a movie on her laptop in her bedroom.
"Before entering the address, the defendant, Rizalman, removed his trousers and underwear."
He walked through an unlocked door, took off his jacket and headed to Ms Billingsley's door.
"He spoke to the victim, saying, 'can I come in?' The victim looked up from her bed and observed the defendant standing in the entranceway to the bedroom, wearing only a shirt and naked from the waist down," the summary says.
Ms Billingsley got up and began yelling and screaming for Rizalman to get out.
He approached her and grabbed her shoulders and the pair struggled.
She managed to get him out of the room and out of the flat.
A flatmate's boyfriend, who lived nearby, came to help and arrived to see Rizalman standing by the front door.
"By this time he had put his trousers back on," the summary says.
Rizalman told police the pair had been to a cinema together. He said she invited him to her house but became angry when he ate her food.
Ms Billingsley suffered marks to her arms and "considerable emotional trauma".
Defence lawyer Donald Stevens, QC, said there was some dispute about the facts of the case, such as Ms Billingsley saying Rizalman put his hands to her throat.
"Mr Rizalman has accepted there was an indecent assault because he went into the house without his trousers and underpants on, which made it indecent," Dr Stevens said.
Prosecutor Grant Burston said the Crown didn't accept Ms Billingsley touched Rizalman first, or suggestions that she wanted Rizalman to follow her home.
The Crown also disputed that Rizalman was suffering from a significant mental illness at the time.
The name of an indecent-assault victim is normally automatically suppressed, but Ms Billingsley has waived this right.
Rizalman left the country after charges were laid but agreed to return in October last year.
Justice David Collins remanded him on bail until Friday, for a hearing about disputed facts.