First witness takes stand in murder trial

UPDATED 4:10PM The first witness has taken the stand in the trial of the man accused of killing Pakuranga mother-of-two Chozyn Koroheke.

Turiarangi Tai is accused of shooting Koroheke once in the abdomen with a 12 gauge double-barrelled shotgun at a house on Pakuranga Rd on April 4 last year.

Koroheke died from her injuries in the back of an ambulance later that night.

Samantha Douglas, who was in a relationship with Koroheke’s brother and lived with Ms Koroheke and the defendant at the house on Pakuranga Rd, described the relationship between Tai and Koroheke as “a bit rocky” but said “it was clear they loved each other.”

Ms Douglas said both Tai and Koroheke were “insecure” and said they argued frequently.

“They’d always think they were cheating on each other but I don’t think either of them were,” she said.

Ms Douglas told the court she saw bruises on Koroheke’s face and arms “quite often” in the weeks leading up to her death and the pair were arguing daily.

She said she had taken Koroheke to the hospital twice before – once after Tai “smacked her [in the head] with a rock” which she estimated to be around 10cm in diameter.

She described her relationship with the victim as “like sisters” and described Koroheke as “a leader”.

Douglas told the court how Tai came home with a double-barrelled shotgun on the afternoon of Koroheke’s death and showed it off.

He did not tell Douglas how he came to have the gun in his possession, and Douglas said she did not ask.

“I asked Chozyn ‘where the hell did that come from’, she said ‘I don’t know but wherever it’s from it’s so stupid.”

Turiarangi Tai is accused of murdering Chozyn Koroheke in April last year. Photo supplied

Douglas said the day of Koroheke’s death had been quieter than usual as the defendant had been ignoring the victim.

The pair allegedly argued when Tai asked Koroheke for petrol money and she refused, saying “he hasn’t talked to me all day, why should I help him?”

Tai then left only to come back down the driveway, where Koroheke went out to see why the defendant had returned.

She then came back inside saying “he’s got a shotgun”.

Douglas told the court she, Koroheke  and Koroheke’s brother Nacyn took cover in Douglas and Nacyn’s bedroom.

She says it was a matter of seconds between Tai pushing the door to the bedroom open with the shotgun and Koroheke being shot.

The court heard that Tai allegedly hit Koroheke in the head with the shotgun and said “You f****ng b**ch” before jabbing Koroheke in the stomach with the gun and pulling the trigger.

Under examination from Crown Prosecutor Mark Williams, Douglas recounted how Koroheke collapsed into her brother’s arms after being shot.

Douglas said Tai and Koroheke’s brother then yelled out at her to call an ambulance. She then ran to a neighbour’s house to use a telephone.

The Crown alleges Tai fled the scene after a matter of minutes, using Koroheke’s debit card to buy petrol, drinks and cigarettes while Koroheke lay dying.

Turiarangi Tai is appearing in front of a jury and Justice Matthew Muir in the High Court at Auckland on one charge of murder and one charge of unlawful use of a firearm.

He has admitted to the firearm charge but pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder.

The trial has been set down for four weeks.

 

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