10 Jun 2019

Māngere shooting case: Police describe bloody scene

6:10 pm on 10 June 2019

Police officers called to a shooting in Māngere have described the bloody scene and trying to find out what happened from the sole survivor.

The scene of a fatal shooting on Greenwood Road in Mangere.

Police at the scene of the shooting. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Abraham Tu'uheava was found dead and his wife Yolanda severely injured on Greenwood Road in the early hours of 1 May last year.

Fisilau Tapaevalu and Mesui Tufui are on trial in the High Court at Auckland, accused of luring the couple to the rural road to kill them. Both deny the offending while a third man, Viliami Taani, pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder last week.

Yolanda, who still has a bullet lodged in her brain, gave evidence last week but struggled to remember some details and needed frequent breaks.

On Monday she identified two men; Viliami Taani - who pleaded guilty last week - and one of the defendants Mesui Tufui, who denies being there.

The second defendant - Fisilau Tapaevalu - admits he was there that night but says he didn't get out of the car.

This morning Māngere resident Brian Cope told the court he was dropping his son off to work about 5.45am on 1 May. About halfway down Greenwood Road he noticed something that looked like a body lying on the side of the road, he said.

"I drove past slowly and did say to my son it looked like somebody on the side of the road. I didn't stop. I was a little bit scared about what I would see or find.

"So we carried on to Ascot Ave and then I stopped at the first driveway, one of the businesses there, and called 111."

Constables Kasaea Tomupilo and Damion Cuddihy were dispatched to the scene and rushed to the body with a first aid kit.

"I shone a torch on the victim's face and and she woke up. She had a wound on her forehead and her face was covered in blood," Ms Tomupilo said.

The officer asked the woman what her name was and she told her it was Yolanda and that she had been shot four times in the head.

Lying about 10m away from the woman was a second body - Yolanda's husband Abraham Tu'uheava.

"The husband laid flat on his face. We tried to pull him around but his hand was blue and purple so we knew that he was gone."

The Crown's case is that the couple were lured to Greenwood Road the night before under the pretence of a potential drug deal.

The day before the shooting, the couple returned from a flying trip to Invercargill, where Yolanda had found $48,000 cash in her carry on bag when flying out of Dunedin.

When Detective Constable Samuel Hensman arrived at the scene on 1 May he tried to get as much information out of her as possible.

He told the court he rode in the ambulance with Constable Tomupilo and asked her questions while paramedics tended to her head.

The police weren't sure she would survive her injures, he said.

"In summary she said the offenders were two brothers and that they were Māngere locals. Her husband told her they are drug dealers and he said he was going to buy a bag of hard stuff for $5500.

"Her husband was shot first. Before this he ran to her and hid behind her, using her as a shield from the offenders."

The policeman said she told him the couple pushed one another and begged the men not to hurt them.

She also said they told the men they had a son before Yolanda was shot in the arm.

"She continued to beg the offender not to shoot her and had her arms covering her head. The offenders told her to remove her hands from around her head. She said she was scared to do this but eventually she did and as soon as she took her hands down from around her head she was shot."

Detective Constable Hensman said Yolanda had earlier heard one of the men say 'you shouldn't have dropped names', and that the woman saw her husband get shot and then pretended to be dead on the damp roadside as the men's car drove past several times.

She later told police the two men were Tongan and her husband had met them through family.

She said an older man with a hunchback, plaited mullet and an angry face had shot her husband, and a younger man wearing a black hat had shot her.

The trial before Justice Lang and a jury is set down for three weeks.