Warning: This story contains graphic and violent content.
A man and woman have been found guilty of torturing and murdering a teenage girl at an Auckland "house of horrors".
Ashley Winter, 29, and Kerry Te Amo, 25, have been on trial for the past two-and-a-half weeks in the High Court at Auckland.
The duo was accused of killing Dimetrius Pairama, whose body was found on July 8 last year by police searching an abandoned state house on Buckland Rd in Māngere.
The 17-year-old had been dumped in a rusty steel drum, amongst some weeds.
The jury took much of this afternoon to find both guilty after retiring to deliberate this morning. Their verdicts were delivered in somewhat of an eerie, calm courtroom - with little to no emotion shown by anyone, including Winter and Te Amo in the dock.
During the trial, the jurors had heard some truly horrific evidence, leading Justice Timothy Brewer to invite them to take up the court's 24-hour counselling services.
It was also the first time Pairama's mum had heard the raw details about what happened to her daughter.
On day one of the trial earlier this month, Lena Hetaraka-Pairama was shocked and distraught by the graphic nature of the evidence.
"I didn't realise it was going to be the first thing talked about and it hit hard," she told the Herald today.
"We got briefed a little about it ... I tried to sit through the whole thing."
She stayed on and watched and listened from the public gallery almost every day throughout the trial.
The guilty verdicts, she said, made her feel more at ease but still forever empty.
"I was more hurt because of what she had to go through, that some people had laid their hands on her like that.
"I feel sorry for my baby because she's not going to know her sister," Lena said of her now 2-year-old daughter.
Pairama was described by those who knew her as a "bubbly, pretty and very friendly" girl with a distinctive laugh.
Lena said her teenage daughter, also known as Precious, was cheeky and loved to sing all the time.
She was also a student at Northland College in Kaikohe who loved kapa haka, singing and arts and crafts.
Her life goal, the court heard, was gaining a qualification and enough money to buy a house.
But she had spent time in Oranga Tamariki care and also on Auckland's streets.
At the start of the trial, Winter pleaded guilty to kidnapping Pairama but denied murdering her. Te Amo had initially denied both charges but at the end of the trial's evidence also pleaded guilty to kidnapping Pairama.
Throughout the trial, however, the duo blamed each other for being the person responsible for Pairama's death.
"I believe it was a gang-related thing," Lena told the Herald.
She said she felt "a bit of remorse" from Te Amo but added: "You were there, you could've stopped it."
Her daughter's short life ended at what Te Amo's lawyer, Shane Tait, described as a horror house.
"The house of horrors on Buckland Rd ... We'll never know exactly what happened," he said.
It was something the Crown Solicitor at Manukau, Natalie Walker, had also said.
"Sometimes we can never know why things happen."
The court, however, heard from another teenager who was at the house.
She was the Crown's key witness and was given immunity from prosecution by the Deputy Solicitor-General.
"They told her to take her clothes off and shaved her hair, burnt her body parts and then had a little meeting," the teen witness said.
Pairama, the teen said, was "crying ... she doesn't know how to fight ... she just went with it".
Tied to a chair with rope and gagged, her body burned with a spray can and lighter, Pairama was then given a chilling choice.
The witness said Winter barked: "It's your fault that I got [suppressed] ... how do you wanna die? Karma is a b*tch'. How do you wanna die? You only got 'til three o'clock."
At three o'clock Pairama was to be stabbed if she didn't choose death by hanging.
"They told me to go to the living room to keep a look out and [because] they didn't want me to look at it, so I went to the living room, sat there and I could hear like stomps, could hear banging in the hallway and when they finished killing her, one of them came outside and I opened the door and I saw her hanging," the witness told Detective Constable Frageo (Damon) Petersen in a filmed interview.
A noose had been fashioned out of some bedsheets, the 15-year-old witness said.
"The first ... it didn't work, she fell out. [Because] it was too loose, second time the same as well, then Ashley said to make it real tight.
"The third time she died.
"Ashley came out and she opened the door wide, I could see Precious hanging."
The teen said Winter had been "stomping" on Pairama's head, causing a sound "really loud like her skull breaking".
Pairama's battered, naked and lifeless body was then cut down and wrapped in the sheets and plastic.
"They were about to burn the house but ... didn't go through with it," the witness said.
"Ash said 'let's burn the place up', but there's been a neighbour or something that's said to get outta the house or she'll call the police.
"Ashley wanted to bury her under the house."
The group, which included a fourth person, left at about 1am, having dumped Pairama's body in a rusty, steel drum amongst some weeds.
Winter was the one in charge, the witness said.
"Everyone listens to Ashley."
Walker said what happened at the house was "barbaric".
"There is no good reason or explanation for why the defendants did what they did to Dimetrius," she told the jury.
"In that house on that day for whatever senseless reason there was a terrible loss of humanity."
Sadly, the court also heard of what may have been Pairama's last chance to escape.
Three police officers had knocked on the door of the Buckland Rd house the day before Pairama's body was found.
They were there to obtain a statement from a woman named Ashleigh Tonga.
The officers were met at the door by a young, crying woman - it was Pairama.
But then another "more dominant" woman, described by one of the officers as transgender, came to the door and said Ashleigh Tonga wasn't there.
Winter is transgender and the teen witness told police the dominant woman was Winter.
"Ashley said 'oh it's all right sis', she acted like [Pairama] was her sister and then they told the cops everything was alright so the cops left," she said.
Police first began investigating the homicide the next day after breaking up a fight near Britomart in central Auckland.
Walker said the group who were at the house had turned on each other.
"You'll pay for what you've done!" the teen witness yelled at Winter.
Winter and Te Amo are now due to be sentenced in November.