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Witness Says Accused Described How He Beheaded Korean Tourist

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 14 NZPA - A woman told today how one of the trio accused of murdering Korean tourist Jae Hyeon Kim admitted to her strangling him before chopping off his head with a spade.

The woman was giving evidence in Greymouth District Court during a depositions hearing which started on Monday for three people.

Since then one man, who has a blanket suppression order including the nature of the charge he faces, has denied the charge and has been remanded to appear in the High Court at Christchurch on November 21 for a pre-trial conference.

Earlier today, a third man, a 31-year-old man, whose name is suppressed, pleaded guilty to murdering 25-year-old Mr Kim at Charleston, near Westport, in September or October 2003.

He was committed for sentence in the High Court at Wellington on December 6.

The hearing is continuing for Flewellen and the Crown alleges he choked Mr Kim after he and two others picked him up as he was thumbing a ride south of Westport.

The woman, who gave evidence against Flewellen, said she later saw him burning items from a backpack she believed had belonged to the hitchhiker.

Mr Kim's body has not been found.

The witness said Flewellen admitted he had put his boot on the hitchhiker's neck and cut his head off with a spade.

"He was relaxed like he was telling us he had just changed his socks or something," the woman said.

Kim arrived on a backpacking trip around New Zealand in February 2003. The last trace he left was an eftpos transaction at a Westport bar on September 29.

He was reported missing by his family in May 2004.

Yesterday, the court was told how two German words "nein blut", which means no blood, were uttered as Mr Kim was throttled.

Crown prosecutor Chris Lange said after Flewellen and his associates picked up Mr Kim the vehicle stopped just before the Four Mile River bridge and Flewellen and an associate got out to retrieve some cannabis from the bush. When they returned they pretended the vehicle had become stuck.

Flewellen, Mr Kim and another man got out to try to free the vehicle.

"This is when Flewellen attacked Mr Kim," Mr Lange said.

"He attacked him from the back. He put him in a choker hold and put pressure on his throat."

Mr Lange alleged that Flewellen then put his foot on Mr Kim's throat to ensure he had stopped breathing.

The victim's body was then taken into the bush. His backpack was later retrieved from the scene of the killing and the contents destroyed.

"Later, Flewellen and his associate went back to the scene, dug a hole, where they buried the victim."

Mr Lange said the Crown had 25 witnesses, including members of the dead man's family, and associates of the defendants who would tell the court of admissions to the crime that they had made to various people.

No forensic evidence would be presented because a body had not been located and the vehicle the defendants travelled in had been destroyed.

Unlike yesterday, there were no armed police guarding the Greymouth courthouse today although a police dog and handler continued to roam nearby streets and everyone who entered the court was scanned by a metal detector and underwent bag searches.

Police said the extra security was a precaution because white supremacist followers had turned up at a previous court appearance, in Westport.

The hearing continues tomorrow.

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