Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Man jailed over fatal shooting of gang prospect friend

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Armed police at the scene of a fatal shooting in Bezar Place, Flat Bush, on Boxing Day, 2021. Times file photo Wayne Martin

A gang boss who fatally shot a friend at his east Auckland home will serve more than 12 years behind bars for the crime.

Emergency services responded to a shooting in Bezar Place, Flat Bush, at about 1.15am on December 26, 2021, when a resident phoned 111 to report they could hear a person in distress at a nearby home followed by the sound of gunshots.

Members of the police’s armed offender squad gained entry to the two-storey property through an upstairs window and brought out several people, including a child, all of whom were unharmed.

A man at the house surrendered to police just after 8am the same day and was taken into custody.

Police found the body of another man, Petau Petau, inside the house.

Following a homicide investigation the arrested man, Andrew Lamositele-Brown, was charged with murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.

A jury found the 40-year-old guilty following a trial at the Auckland High Court last year.

He reappeared in the court on February 8 to be sentenced by Justice Sally Fitzgerald.

The judge said Lamositele-Brown was living with his partner and four children at a property in Flat Bush at the time of the shooting.

He’d arrived back in New Zealand six months prior, having been deported from Australia under the 501 legislation.

Lamositele-Brown and Petau were friends. Lamositele-Brown had become president of an Australian chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in 2019, while Petau was an associate of the gang.

On December 25, 2021, Lamositele-Brown and his partner and children spent time celebrating Christmas with other relatives. It was a normal and happy day, the judge said.

Lamositele-Brown had been drinking alcohol during the day and his partner had said during the trial he was drunk on the night of the killing.

“She explained that when you drink, you often accuse her of cheating,” Justice Fitzgerald told the court.

“She said your mood had changed from when they first got home; she described you as ‘grumpy’.”

The black Harley-Davidson motorcycle Petau Petau rode to Andrew Lamositele-Brown’s Bezar Place home on Boxing Day, 2021, was still parked in the driveway the following morning. Times file photo Wayne Martin

Later that night Lamositele-Brown’s children and partner went to bed as he stayed downstairs drinking and listening to music.

In the early hours of Boxing Day, Petau sent a text message to Lamositele-Brown wishing him a Merry Christmas.

Lamositele-Brown phoned Petau 10 minutes later and is believed to have invited him over, with Petau arriving at the Bezar Place house on his motorcycle at about 1.05am.

Lamositele-Brown’s partner came downstairs and met Petau. She then sent a text message to her sister saying Lamositele-Brown was “carrying the toy in his stupid pocket”.

The judge said that reference was to the Taurus semi-automatic pistol Lamositele-Brown later shot Petau with.

Everything seemed fine between Lamositele-Brown and Petau when he first arrived but the situation deteriorated.

Justice Fitzgerald said Lamositele-Brown shot Petau while both men were in the dining room.

“I am satisfied he was sitting at the dining table when this occurred, and you were standing up, most likely on the other side of the table.

“Mr Petau was shot in the torso, and while he was able to survive for a few minutes, the pathology evidence was that an injury such as this was not in fact survivable.

“After the first shot, Mr Petau was able to get from the dining room to the hallway where he collapsed.”

Lamositele-Brown’s partner immediately went downstairs to see what had happened.

She found Petau lying face down on the hallway floor at the bottom of the stairs.

“This led to her screaming very loudly, which was heard by neighbours, a number of whom called 111,” the judge said.

“This was shortly before or around 1.15 am. Your partner lunged at you and tried to take the pistol from you.

“There was a struggle and she reported to police in her formal statement that you had pointed the gun at her, and in her later 111 call to the police, she said that you had threatened her. I accept that evidence.”

The police’s armed offender squad helped members of Andrew Lamositele-Brown’s family escape the two-storey house through this upstairs window. Times file photo Wayne Martin

Two of Lamositele-Brown’s daughters also went downstairs and saw Petau on the ground.

After the shooting, as Lamositele-Brown had barricaded himself in his house, he made statements to the police negotiator to “ask my missus” when questioned about what had happened.

“The reason why you had a beef with Mr Petau that evening ultimately remains unknown,” Justice Fitzgerald said.

Lamositele-Brown’s position during his murder trial was that the shooting was accidental.

The judge said when Lamositele-Brown was taken into custody a clear plastic bag containing 9.8 grams of cocaine was found in the pocket of his shorts.

“When your house was later searched by police, they found a plastic bag in the master bedroom containing 77.2 grams of methamphetamine; two further smaller plastic bags containing 853 milligrams and 382 milligrams of methamphetamine respectively.

“Police also found just over $46,000 in cash at the house. The presence of this very large amount of cash, together with the drugs and the gun, has the hallmarks of commercial drug dealing.”

Justice Fitzgerald said Lamositele-Brown claimed to have cut ties with the Hells Angels.

On the charge of murder, she sentenced him to life imprisonment with a minimum period of 12 years and eight months.

Lamositele-Brown was also sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment for possession of methamphetamine for supply and one year in prison for unlawful possession of a firearm.

As the sentences are to be served concurrently, no additional prison time is added to his sentence.

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