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Eli Epiha was seen fleeing with guns after fatally shooting Constable Matthew Hunt. Viewers may find this video disturbing.
The woman who drove Eli Epiha away after he fatally shot Constable Matthew Hunt and seriously injured another officer told police she was being threatened with a gun.
Epiha then allegedly told her: “Drive, drive. I just killed a cop.”
Natalie Bracken has denied being an accessory after the fact of murder, but there’s no dispute she drove Epiha away from the scene in Massey, West Auckland.
Eli Bob Sauni Epiha, 25, has admitted murdering Constable Hunt with a military-style semi-automatic rifle, and dangerous driving causing injury to a member of the public on June 19, 2020.
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But he denies attempting to murder Constable David Goldfinch who was shot at 10 times.
The pair are on trial at the High Court at Auckland.
On the day of the shooting, a dark purple Toyota, driven by Epiha, caught the two constables’ attention and was flagged in the police national intelligence system.
Constable David Goldfinch describes how the shooter came after him with a gun and how he believed he would die.
Constable Goldfinch previously told the court the pair had been on road policing duties with their car stationed on Triangle Rd, in Massey, when Epiha’s “erratic” driving caught his attention, before they caught up with him on Reynella Dr having crashed into a vehicle injuring a man.
As an unarmed Goldfinch exited the police car to approach the crash scene, Epiha opened fire, shooting at him 10 times.
On Wednesday, Detective Sergeant Ashley Matthews told the court Bracken was located at a Te Atatu address after a warrant had been issued for her arrest on June 20.
Upon arriving at the address he noticed her hair was wet and appeared to have been recently dyed, with colour dripping off it.
After Bracken was arrested, she tearfully told Matthews how she heard a woman screaming and shots being fired.
“He threatened me with a gun and I didn’t know what to do,” Bracken allegedly told Matthews in the back of a police car.
“I don’t even know him. He was running after the cop…I was just trying to save everyone.”
Bracken’s interview with Matthews was also played to the court, in which she told the detective she was having a cup of tea and a cigarette with a friend when the dog began barking.
The defendant was visibly emotional in the interview and told Matthews she wanted to get her side of the story out.
After the dog began barking, Bracken told police she went outside and saw a man lying on the ground and his wife screaming.
“He (Epiha) was already shooting at the two cops...the one that was ended up dead wasn’t dead yet.”
”He kept shooting at them," Bracken said.
Bracken said she tried to help the woman and the man and noticed he was bleeding from the back of his head.
“I yell out ‘call the ambulance’, he was still shooting and coming back down towards the house.”
She described Epiha shooting at a police officer behind a car.
“He had the gun with one arm. He was f...... around and shooting.”
Bracken claimed Epiha went back and shot at Constable Hunt who by that point was lying in the middle of the road.
She told Matthews she ran back to get her phone when Epiha allegedly said: “F...... take me in this car now.”
Bracken saw Constable Goldfinch running away screaming “stop”, she claimed.
“I was just scared. He still had the gun out and everything,” Bracken said tearfully.
Bracken jumped in the car and drove him for about 15 minutes before dropping him off and leaving him at a Taupaki address.
She then left the silver Mazda on a street.
Bracken told Matthews she was scared, hence why she didn't go to the police earlier.
When asked if she knew Epiha, Bracken said she may have seen him at the pokies once.
“He looks familiar.”
She described Epiha as wearing a green camouflage T-shirt with dark shorts and had long dark plait.
"He’s a big, big boy...bigger than those AOS fellas,” Bracken said.
The trial before a jury and Justice Geoffrey Venning continues.
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