Guilty verdict ends cold case hitman attempt

Warren Kiwi's trial took place at the High Court in Rotorua over four days. CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

A unanimous guilty verdict has ended an almost two decade old attempted murder mystery. 

Warren Uata Kiwi, 58, was found guilty at the High Court in Rotorua on Tuesday of two charges; attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. 

The jury reached their verdict in just over 24 hours, putting an end to the mystery of who tried to kill truck driver Karl Anders Nyman outside his then Aspen Place home in the early hours of July 31, 2002. 

Over a four day trial the court heard about the life and death struggle Karl and his balaclava-clad, would-be killer, engaged in as both men wrestled for control of the gun.

It was a tussle that saw Karl get shot in the arm, and the apologetic hitman say sorry numerous times. 

According to Karl's evidence at day one of the trial, it began with four words. 

"Hold it right there."

Karl then described a struggle between he and the gunman as he fought for his life

He also revealed how once he had control of the firearm, the apologies began.

"Half a dozen times, sorry bro, wrong house, wrong street."

The Crown case was simple, and relied on three key pieces of evidence; the rifle recovered from Aspen Place and two separate confessions Kiwi made to being the gunman, one to a relative in 2011 and one to police in 2018. 

The .22 rifle used in the attempted murder had been reported stolen by its owner - Kiwi's father. 

Kiwi's cousin Coral Therese Farrell also gave evidence about a conversation she said took place between the pair when the Karl's name cropped up.

"He just said it was me. I was stunned, I didn't believe it, at first," she said. 

Farrell also revealed the condition Kiwi set before accepting the hit, for which he was to be paid with five pounds of cannabis. 

"Is he a Māori or a Pākeha, and [the conspirator] said he's a Pākeha."

The Crown also placed great emphasis on a second confession Kiwi made to police. 

"But for Mr Kiwi's admissions, the police would still themselves be at that dead-end they found themselves on that morning of 31 July, 2002," said Crown persecutor Chris Macklin. 

The DVD of that police interview was played to the court and saw Kiwi initially claim his brother, since deceased, was the gunman. 

He also claimed he had intimate knowledge of the events as his brother had told him. 

He stuck to his word for approximately eight minutes, the length of a pause in the DVD before the interview resumed recording. 

"I did do what has been spoken of today," he then told them, "... it was me and I'm sorry for putting my brother's name under the bus."

Justice Pheroze Jagose convicted Kiwi on both charges and remanded him until sentencing on October 18.

As he was led away his daughter, who had sat through the entire trial, called to her father. 

"I love you dad."

-Stuff/Benn Bathgate.

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