New Zealand

Joseph Borton pleads guilty to murdering woman in Karori

Joseph Borton in the High Court at Wellington. The Crown will be asking for Borton to be sentenced to preventive detention.

ROSA WOODS

Joseph Borton in the High Court at Wellington. The Crown will be asking for Borton to be sentenced to preventive detention.

GRAPHIC WARNING: Joseph William Borton has pleaded guilty to murdering a woman in an affluent area of Wellington in April. 

Borton, 31, made the admission at the High Court in Wellington on Monday.

The deceased’s name remains suppressed to protect her 12-year-old daughter who Borton pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting.

Justice Simon France remanded Borton in custody for sentencing on October 18.

Borton pleaded guilty to murder, indecently assaulting the woman by removing her under-clothes, wounding the girl with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, sexually violating her twice, and doing an indecent act on the girl.

He also pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated burglary, stealing photographic equipment as well as a steel mallet, a blazer and a dressing gown.

Police and forensic scientists spent days at the scene behind the cordon. (File photo)

ROSA WOODS/STUFF

Police and forensic scientists spent days at the scene behind the cordon. (File photo)

Prosecutor Grant Burston said the Crown would be asking for Borton to be sentenced to preventive detention, as well as the mandatory life jail term for murder.​

In a summary of the evidence against him the court was told Borton had hit both victims with a mallet, cracking their skulls.

About 16 hours later he rang police and confessed to killing the woman.

He was boarding nearby the Lemnos Ave house and became known to the two victims.

He would help the mother with computer problems she had.

He spied on them when they went to use a neighbour’s laundry in the early evening of April 4 and, armed with a steel mallet he had previously stolen, he entered the house without alerting them.

An undated photograph of Joseph Borton who has admitted murdering a woman. (File photo)

SUPPLIED

An undated photograph of Joseph Borton who has admitted murdering a woman. (File photo)

He surprised the 12-year-old in the hallway, but she said hello to him and turned to try to catch a cat that needed to be put outside.

Borton hit the girl on the back of the head with the mallet and knocked her flying.

She struggled for breath when he put his hands around her throat, nose and mouth.

Borton hit her again with the mallet so hard that her skull fractured and caved in.

The girl’s mother heard the scream and went to her aid.

She was hit repeatedly with the mallet and fell to the floor. Her skull was also fractured and she bled heavily.

An autopsy found she had been hit at least five times on the back of her head and to her face.

An upmarket street in Karori, Wellington, became the backdrop for an intense investigation in April after a woman was murdered. (File photo)

ROSA WOODS/STUFF

An upmarket street in Karori, Wellington, became the backdrop for an intense investigation in April after a woman was murdered. (File photo)

Details of the sexual charges involving the girl were suppressed, Justice Simon France said.

Borton returned home, taking the mallet with him. He showered and went back to where the two victims remained, and began cleaning the blood from both their head injuries.

The girl regained consciousness and called out to her mother.

Borton came in and sat on the bed. He told her there had been an earthquake and both she and her mother had been injured.

At about 1pm on April 5 Borton gave the girl a phone but she couldn’t reach her mother or father.

Soon after Borton himself called 111, and said he had killed a neighbour, and that he’d been a “peeping tom”.

Police came and arrested him, and he repeated that he’d been a peeping tom.

The mother died at the scene.

Borton said he took the mallet from a neighbouring house about 10 days earlier to use to crush ice.

He admitted to police that when he went to the house with the mallet on April 4 he had intended “incapacitating” the mother so he could take sexual advantage of the girl.

The summary said that Borton had also taken the dressing gown and school blazer of a young woman who lived nearby.

Borton was said to be a first offender.

He had tried to establish himself as a professional photographer. 

He had also worked as an IT contractor in Wellington for both private companies and the public service, and studied computer systems engineering at Victoria University of Wellington and photography at Massey University.


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