Warning: This story contains graphic and violent content.

The final moments of a teenager who was tortured and brutally killed at an abandoned Auckland house will haunt her family forever.

Today, Ashley Winter and Kerry Te Amo were both sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnapping and murdering Dimetrius Pairama.

The details of the horrific case were revealed in a high-profile and disturbing trial last September and included Winter and Te Amo torturing the 17-year-old over several hours, including burning her.

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They eventually gave Pairama the chilling choice of how she wanted to die - being stabbed or hanged. A noose was then fashioned out of some torn bedsheets and Pairama's lifeless body was wrapped in the sheets and plastic.

She was then discarded in a rusty steel drum at the derelict state house in Māngere on a cold, rainy night in July 2018.

Lena Hetaraka-Pairama, next to her young daughter, said she struggled to hear of the evil and hurt Dimetrius Pairama suffered. Photo / Sam Hurley
Lena Hetaraka-Pairama, next to her young daughter, said she struggled to hear of the evil and hurt Dimetrius Pairama suffered. Photo / Sam Hurley

Pairama's mother, Lena Hetaraka-Pairama, told the court today she struggled to listen to what happened during her daughter's final hours.

"My hand shook from the hurtful, evil things I was hearing."

Wearing a T-shirt with her daughter's photo printed on it, she explained how she "still can't forgive myself" for not keeping Pairama safe.

"Every time I close my eyes, I see her smiling," she said of the teen who had been a student at Northland College in Kaikohe and loved kapa haka, singing and arts and crafts.

Pairama's aunt, Ursula Beazley, also read a statement on behalf of grandmother Lauren Wilkinson-Pou, who had raised the teen with her late husband.

"I find comfort knowing my husband was there to welcome her into heaven," the letter read.

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"Losing a child feels so unnatural, burying a child is wrong, our children are supposed to outlive us. I am unable to comprehend, and shudder, when I think of the violence she endured."

Dimetrius Pairama's aunt Ursula Beazley reads a victim impact statement next to the teen's grandmother and adopted mother Lauren Wilkenson-Pou. Photo / Sam Hurley
Dimetrius Pairama's aunt Ursula Beazley reads a victim impact statement next to the teen's grandmother and adopted mother Lauren Wilkenson-Pou. Photo / Sam Hurley

Addressing Te Amo via a video link, Wilkinson-Pou told the killer his father's whakapapa had made him Pairama's uncle.

"To take a life with such little disregard is one thing, but to take the life of a family member? As whānau, you should have been there to protect her."

Pairama had moved to Auckland to be with her mother when she was 16, but also spent time in Oranga Tamariki care and on Auckland's streets.

"She died with no loved ones to hold her and reassure her," Wilkinson-Pou's statement read. "The fear as you tortured her in her final moments will haunt us forever."

Pairama's tantrums as a child earned her the nickname Haka.

"I would give anything to see her throw one last tantrum."

Her murder, Wilkinson-Pou said, was "simply a cold, calculated evil act by two people".

READ MORE:
House of horrors: Duo jailed for life for torture and murder of Auckland teen Dimetrius Pairama
House of horrors murder: Court to decide state care for teen found unfit for Dimetrius Pairama trial
Court of Appeal explains finding teen unfit for Dimetrius Pairama trial
Torture trial: Duo found guilty of teen's murder in 'house of horrors'
Auckland torture case: Girl's body found inside a rusty drum at abandoned state house

After the sentencing, Detective Inspector Tofilau Fa'amanuia Va'aelua said the details of Pairama's death shocked police staff and the wider community.

The Counties Manukau officer said his and his staff's thoughts and sympathies continue to be with those who knew and loved Pairama.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the investigation team who worked on this case. Police deal with serious crime every day but the details of this case were deeply disturbing," he said.

"I hope today's sentencing can offer Dimetrius' family some degree of comfort as they continue to grieve and come to terms with her tragic and senseless death."

Kerry Te Amo and Ashley Winter were sentenced today via video link to life imprisonment. Photo / Sam Hurley
Kerry Te Amo and Ashley Winter were sentenced today via video link to life imprisonment. Photo / Sam Hurley

Sadly, during the trial, the court also heard of what may have been Pairama's last chance to escape that "house of horrors".

Three police officers had knocked on the door of the Buckland Rd building the day before Pairama's body was found.

They were there to obtain a statement from a woman named Ashleigh Tonga and were met at the door by a young, crying woman - it was Pairama.

But then another "more dominant" woman came to the door and said Ashleigh Tonga wasn't there. It was Winter.

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The "house of horrors" in Māngere, pictured in July 2018. Photo / Doug Sherring

Police first began investigating the homicide the next day after breaking up a fight near Britomart in central Auckland.

It remains unclear exactly why Pairama was murdered, though everyone involved in the case agrees it was "brutal, callous and senseless", as Winter's counsel Matthew Goodwin said today.

Crown Solicitor at Manukau, Natalie Walker, who prosecuted Winter and Te Amo, said there appeared to be no reason for the "terrible loss of humanity".

Hetaraka-Pairama, however, has told the Herald she believes her daughter was killed as part of a gang retaliation.

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