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Shot Man Toppled On Hunting Companion, Court Told

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Hamilton, Nov 4 NZPA - A woman has told a court how English agricultural exchange student Matthew Purchase toppled on her when shot in the head on a hunting trip.

Carol Dryberg Bernard was the first Crown witness called in the High Court at Rotorua trial of Danish tourist Bjarne Jensen, 48, who is defending a charge of careless use of a firearm.

The Crown told the jury it would need to prove two points -- that the bullet came from the gun Jensen was using and that he used the weapon in a careless way.

The Crown would call 14 witnesses in the week-long trial.

Mr Purchase was shot in the head with a .22 rifle as he sat on the back of a ute while hunting on a farm near Waotu, 10 kilometres southwest of Putaruru in the south Waikato, on December 8 last year.

Mrs Bernard told the court of the moments immediately after Mr Purchase was shot.

"I felt a funny sensation. I looked up and Matt didn't look right, then he toppled on top of me."

Mrs Bernard, seated beside Mr Purchase at the back of her husband's ute, said she did not tell the others how serious his injuries were.

"I thought the bleeding was coming out of his ear, but I found the entry wound just behind it.

"Bjarne helped me hold Matt while my husband sped toward the farmhouse to alert the ambulance.

"Bjarne thought he was shot in the shoulder, I knew it was in his head. I applied pressure to the area with his hoodie."

Mrs Bernard said Mr Purchase was unconscious on the back of the ute, but was responding to what she was saying.

"He would start shaking and we would say `calm down Matt, everything will be okay' then his body would become still. We could hear him breathing heavily," Mrs Bernard said.

Ian Purchase, Matthew's father, flew from England for the trial and was in the public gallery during proceedings yesterday.

Doctors initially thought Mr Purchase would be paralysed and unlikely to ever see, speak or hear again but in April it was reported he had recovered to the point where he was able to leave hospital for his parents' home to continue his rehabilitation.

The trial is continuing


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