The trial over the killing of a Ngaruawahia man found dead at McLaren Falls last year has begun in Hamilton.

Christopher Ramia Smith, Leon Colin Wilson, and Chloe Nardiah Leigh Kerridge are on trial in the High Court at Hamilton for their alleged role in the death of Mitchell Paterson on July 12, 2018.

Five others charged over his death have either admitted their roles or already been sentenced.

Paterson's body was found bound, wrapped and dumped in the river under the McLaren's Fall Bridge early on the morning of July 13 last year.


Appearing before Justice Paul Davison, the accused denied their respective charges.

Chloe Nardiah Leigh Kerridge denies charges of kidnapping and conspiring to defeat the course of justice.

Leon Colin Wilson, 49, of Hamilton, denies charges of manslaughter, kidnapping and conspiring to defeat the course of justice.

Christopher Ramia Smith, 34, denies charges of manslaughter, kidnapping and conspiring to defeat the course of justice.

Crown prosecutor Jacinda Foster told the court how Kerridge, together with her former partner Simon Peter Walker and associates Dylan Ken Brian Boyle, 21, Grant Stewart Wickens, 33, Smith and Wilson were at Wilson's Pohutukawa Drive home late on July 11, last year.

Kerridge brought up Paterson had been "dissing" or "disrespecting" Wilson, the leader of the Waikato chapter of the Nomads gang, and Waikato Mongrel Mob leader Sonny Fatu.

Wilson then ordered that Paterson to be brought to his home to ask him about what he'd been saying.

Walker, a prospect for the gang, together with Kerridge and Boyle, then left Wilson's home with Boyle behind the wheel.


While meeting up with an associate, who was friends with Paterson, in a central city motel, Paterson confirmed he was at a friend's house in Mill St.

Not realising the danger the associate had put Paterson in, he arranged for Walker to meet up with him by way of a drug deal.

The trio drove to the Mill St property where Paterson, Boyle will later testify, was angered to see the person wanting to buy the methamphetamine was Walker.

Unbeknown to Paterson, Walker had already texted Smith, Walker and Wickens who had also left the Pohutukawa Drive property and were waiting in a car nearby.

Paterson continued with the drug deal and sat in the back of Boyle's car, one leg in, one out, and Walker texted Wilson to let him know they had Paterson in the car.

Wilson's car, being driven by Smith, then pulled up alongside Boyle's car. At that point, Foster said Boyle will testify how the penny appeared to drop with Paterson as on seeing Wilson his look was "one of shock, one of fear, but of course there was nowhere that Mr Paterson could go".


Wilson, followed by Walker and Kerridge, then told Boyle to drive as Walker grabbed Paterson and dragged him inside the car, with the vehicle's driving off.

Struggling to break free, Walker put Paterson in a headlock, or chokehold. However, Paterson fought against him and kicked out at both Boyle and the back seat window, which shortly afterwards smashed.

Boyle was then told to pull over. Smith then got into the back seat of the Subaru Impreza with Walker to help restrain Paterson.

Arriving soon after at Wilson's house, Paterson was dragged out of the car and into the garage.

It was then they discovered Paterson was unresponsive; blue in the face and had a small amount of blood on his lip.

The tried to raise him but shortly after realised he was dead.


Kerridge, Boyle and Walker then left the house, while the others discussed what to do with Paterson who they had wrapped up in a blue tarpaulin.

Foster said Boyle will testify how he was contacted by Kerridge who told him to clean up his car and she would arrange a new window for him.

Wilson then got Walker back and told him to get rid of the body after putting Paterson in his Terrano and telling him to set it on fire.

Walker, together with Wickens and Kyra Betteridge,who lived at Wilson's house, then drove off, stopping at a petrol station to pick up containers of petrol and diesel.

After driving around for 20 hours and various stops and discussions, they decided against setting the vehicle on fire. Wickens disagreed with the change of plan and left.

Walker and Betteridge continued on and instead contacted another associate, James Green, who agreed to meet them and dispose of Paterson's body.


After arriving at McLaren Falls, on the top of the Kaimai Range, Walker and Green threw Paterson's body off the bridge into the water below.

Wilson then heard about the unapproved change of plan and set about trying to contact Walker and Betteridge to find out why they changed his plan.

Wilson's lawyer Roger Laybourn made a brief opening statement stating his client never intended to use any violence on Paterson that would lead to serious injury or death as he only wanted to talk to him.

Laybourn said Wilson wasn't overly perturbed by what was being spread about him but he wanted Paterson, voluntarily, brought to his home for a chat.

As for the obstructing justice charge, Laybourn said Wilson was "appalled' to find Paterson in an incapacitated state after arriving at his house.

• Walker has been convicted on charges of manslaughter, kidnapping and obstructing justice. He will be sentenced later this month.


• Wickens has admitted charges of kidnapping, obstructing justice and interfering with human remains. He will be sentenced later this month.

• Boyle has been sentenced to home detention on charges of kidnapping and obstructing justice.

• Betteridge has also been convicted and sentenced to 21 months' prison.

• Green, 27, has also been jailed for two years on charges of obstructing justice, interfering with human remains and driving while disqualified.

The crown will begin calling witnesses after the lunch break.

The trio's fate will be decided by a jury of seven women and five men over the next two weeks.