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Manhunt Subject `Possessed' During Motorway Shootout

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Manhunt Subject `Possessed' During Motorway Shootout

Wellington, Nov 24 NZPA - An inquest into the death of young Auckland courier driver, killed by police crossfire during a motorway shootout, was today told the manhunt subject looked "like a man possessed".

The coroner's inquest into the death of Halatau Naitoko, 17, started in Auckland today.

Stephen McDonald, 50, has been sentenced to 13 years' jail, with a minimum non-parole period of eight years, after admitting 23 charges in connection with a car chase across Auckland in January that ended soon after police accidentally shot Mr Naitoko.

Police say no one will be charged directly with his death.

Two witnesses gave evidence to the coroner's hearing today; Constable Steve Vile and Bianca Bush, who was caught in the crossfire.

Ms Bush said McDonald had rested on the front of her car with a gun. She had been terrified and said he looked "possessed", 3News reported.

"His eyes looked crazy and desperate. The look was just a glance. I was terrified," she said.

Mr Vile said he did not know if squad officers had a clear view of McDonald, told the inquest that at one point he looked directly into his eyes, Radio NZ reported.

"When he drove past, there was no way he was going to stop - and he was going very fast. And the look on his face: I would say he looked like a man possessed."

Nine witnesses are expected to be called for the inquest.

However, two AOS officers, one of whom fired the shot that killed Mr Naitoko, have appealed against a ruling on how their evidence can be heard.

Their lawyer is going to the High Court on Friday in an attempt to stop them having to give evidence from the dock.


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