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Teen Prisoner Had Throat Cut Within Hour Of Moving Cell - Court

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Teen Prisoner Had Throat Cut Within Hour Of Moving Cell - Court

Wellington, Oct 4 NZPA - An 18-year-old prison inmate had his throat slit with a makeshift blade within an hour of being transferred to another cell block, the High Court at Wellington was told today.

Harley Vance Collier, 25, and Tiaki Lance Erueti Phillips, 23, are on trial for the attempted murder of the teenager at Hawkes Bay regional prison on October 27 last year.

Half a dozen guards kept watch as the accused pair sat quietly in the dock.

Crown prosecutor Russell Collins cautioned the jury of six men and six women that they could find pictures of the wounds "disturbing."

"There is no doubt that whoever did this to him meant to kill him," said Mr Collins.

The victim's throat was "literally" cut - sliced each side from ear to Adam's apple, causing two serious gaping wounds.

Arteries and veins in the neck were severed and the external jugular cut.

"Thankfully the internal ones (blood vessels) weren't."

Mr Collins said the weapon was made from two pieces of blade torn from a disposable razor. An attempt had been made to "meld, weld, even tie together" the two parts.

It was left behind on the bed in the victim's cell where he had been attacked.

The issue at stake was whether the complainant had correctly identified the people who attacked him - one getting him in a headlock and trying to choke him, while the other cut his throat, the prosecutor said.

According to the victim, both had heavy facial tattoos. One man had the word "Rogue" across his nose and MMM on his forehead. The other had a Mongrel Mob patch on one cheek and a swastika on the other.

Mr Collins said there were 40 inmates in the unit at the time. After he had been shown around, the new arrival sat in his cell. The attack occurred soon after and the unit was locked down while the injured man was tended and an ambulance called.

The Crown alleged Phillips caused the wound with the razor blade but he and Collier (who held the victim down) were helping each other.

"They were acting in concert," said Mr Collins.

The Crown did not have to prove a motive for the attempt to kill.

"We don't know why they did it," he said.

The victim, his voice sounding strained and hoarse, gave evidence from behind a screen out of sight of the two accused.

He said he was sitting in his cell with his head bowed and noticed a man out of the corner of his eye before being jumped on.

"He had tattoos on his face. He was a mobster."

The man put him in a headlock and he felt himself passing out because he could not breathe. Before losing consciousness, the victim said he saw another man (whom he also identified later) reaching to get something from his clothing.

"I don't know how long I passed out for. I woke on the ground to find someone standing on top of me and just slashing me."

Warning him to stay where he was, the pair fled.

When he stood up and grabbed his neck, the injured man said blood was pumping out and he started to panic. Taking off his jersey, he wrapped it around his neck to try and stop the bleeding.

Help arrived after he pushed the emergency alarm.

The trial, presided over by Justice Alan Mackenzie, is expected to last most of the week.

Russell Fairbrother appears for Collier and Tony Snell for Phillips.

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