November 8: a Thai sex worker was murdered by her boyfriend in New Zealand, who left her body to rot in her apartment for three and a half weeks before police found the body, alerted by her concerned landlord. The woman, Nuttidar Vaikaew, 48, had come to New Zealand some nine years ago and worked as a sex worker from her apartment in Western Springs, Auckland.
The accused, Gordon Hieatt, 47, is currently undergoing trial at the High Court in Auckland in New Zealand, where he has pled not guilty. The jury was told that Ms Vaikaew had had what has been described as an on-off relationship with the accused for approximately two and a half years. On the night of the alleged murder, sometime after April 16, 2010, Hieatt and Ms Vaikaew had had an argument, during which he was accused of strangling her. He then apparently left the body where he had killed her on the bed to decompose, according to the prosecutor.
The incident came to light when the victim’s landlord called for his rent, which was overdue. The door was answered by Hieatt, who identified himself as Ms Vaikaew’s boyfriend. When asked if Ms Vaikaew was available, Hieatt replied that she was sick. Suspicious and nauseated by the incrediby bad smell coming from the apartment, the landlord notified police who duly came to investigate.
Hieatt answered the door once again and when asked if all was well by the police, he confessed that he had killed his girlfriend, Ms Vaikaew, after an argument. Proceeding into the darkened apartment, police discovered the victim’s body lying on the bed, with a fan pointing towards it.
“The smell was indescribable and putrid dead flies and maggots were all over the lounge and particularly on the bed,” the prosecutor reportedly told the jury.
Hieatt had apparently made a habit of visiting other sex workers, one of whom he had seen in the interim. The court was also told that the accused had spent time at the victim’s apartment, despite the awful smell and decomposing body. The court also learnt that Hieatt was in an ongoing relationship with yet another woman in Thailand, whom he had confessed to about murdering Ms Vaikaew by online messaging service.
The trial is scheduled to last a further two and a half weeks and the Crown will call 26 witnesses, according to the New Zealand Herald from which this account was adapted.