Tai denies murder, admits gun charge

The trial of Turiarangi Tai has begun in the High Court at Auckland (pictured). Photo Kelly Teed

UPDATED 4:30PM The relationship between a young mother and her alleged killer was one of “frequent violence and controlling behaviour”, a court has heard.

Turiarangi Tai is accused of the murder of 22-year-old Chozyn Koroheke, who died after being shot at close range at a house on Pakuranga Rd, near Glenmore Rd, last year.

Tai is charged with one count of murder and another charge of the unlawful use of a firearm.

He admitted the charge of a firearm, however pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder.

His case will be heard in front of a jury and Justice Matthew Muir at the High Court in Auckland over the coming weeks.

The jury was today shown the firearm used in the incident – a 12 gauge double-barrelled shotgun, loaded with a single cartridge.

Ms Koroheke was shot once in the right side of her abdomen, where the Crown says the bullet entered, but did not exit.

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

In his opening statement, Crown prosecutor Mark Williams spoke of the short relationship between Tai and Ms Koroheke, calling it “a relationship characterised by frequent violence and controlling behaviour” of Mr Tai.

Mr Williams said the house on Pakuranga Rd where Tai and Ms Koroheke lived was also the scene of many domestic arguments and the Crown alleges it was following one of these arguments that Tai packed his bags into his car and prepared to leave – something he had done in the past.

Mr Williams said Tai reached the top of the driveway in his car before returning with a gun.

Ms Koroheke, who had gone outside to see why Tai had returned, then came running back inside yelling “he’s got a shotgun”, the court heard.

Ms Koroheke, her brother and her brother’s then girlfriend were hiding in a bedroom when Tai allegedly came in and shot Ms Koroheke in the abdomen at a distance of between 10cm and 50cm.

The court heard how Tai remained at the property for just a matter of minutes before fleeing the property instead of waiting to see if Ms Koroheke was okay, or to explain the situation to police.

Tai had allegedly threatened to shoot Ms Koroheke on one previous occasion.

A woman is also on trial alongside Tai, charged with being an accessory after the fact of murder. The woman has name suppression.

The trial is expected to last four weeks.