A Northlander on the run from police denied sexually abusing a woman he met through Facebook, saying she consented to all sexual activity in lieu of a debt she owed him.

Jessie Arthur Heke-Gray, 34, elected to give evidence and call witnesses in the Whangārei District Court yesterday at the conclusion of the Crown case on Monday.

He has plead not guilty to one charge of rape, five charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, assault with intent to injure, unlawful possession of a firearm, threats to cause grievous bodily harm and two charges of threatening to kill.

All the charges relate to various locations around Whangārei between October 13 and October 25, 2016. He admitted one charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice on March 28, 2018.


Heke-Gray said they met through Facebook and she asked him if he could help her sort out a domestic problem.

He quoted $15,000 for his services but when she couldn't pay him, Heke-Gray said he told her to sell her bike or get a loan from her boss.

He later agreed to have sex with her as a means of settling payment.

They discussed all matters sexual openly through Facebook messenger and video calls, Heke-Gray told the jury.

The woman travelled to Whangārei on a bus and the pair met at Pak'nSave carpark, where Heke-Gray said he let her drive towards Tamaterau where they engaged in sex in a toilet.

They then stayed at Flames Hotel in Onerahi, at a holiday park as well as with family members over the next week and engaged in sexual activities.

"She never gave me any sign that she wasn't enjoying herself. She enjoyed it right from the start," Heke-Gray said.

Heke-Gray said she was not a prisoner while with him and could leave whenever she wanted to.


As he was on the run from police, he said he needed money to pay for motels and other expenses since he was moving from place to place.

He admitted having the woman's cellphone because she owed him money.

The woman liked him and was always available to talk to him, he said.

The Crown's case is that Heke-Gray sexually violated her at Tamaterau, at Flames Hotel and elsewhere they stayed at during her trip to Whangārei.

It was during a visit to a medical centre in Whangārei for injuries inflicted on her that staff managed to get the woman away from Heke-Gray, the Crown said.

In his opening remarks Judge John McDonald told the jury it would be wrong to convict Heke-Gray because he had a previous conviction for rape.

He told them to approach the case in a logical and dispassionate way.

The jury is expected to retire and consider their verdicts tomorrow.