Woman's sobs 'sounded like an animal'

Last updated 15:05 12/08/2014

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A woman's sobs sounded almost like an animal the morning police burst into the bedroom of a Porirua house and shot and tasered a man in what they feared was a critical situation, a jury has been told.

In the High Court at Wellington today a constable whose name is suppressed said she and another officer approached the house in Waitangirua before dawn on May 2 last year.

She could hear arguing and shouting.

Inside a bedroom a woman was on the floor with a man over her and his arm was driving down towards her.

The constable said she fired a taser at him and the probes attached to his back, and within half a second the other officer fired a shot from a Glock pistol.

The woman scrambled over the floor to the female officer and grabbed her leg. Her sobs sounded almost like an animal, the constable said.

The man who was shot and tasered, Ruka Te Pono Hemopo, 48, was released from hospital the next day.

He was charged with attempted murder and a less serious alternative of wounding with intent to injure. He pleaded not guilty to those as well as a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, relating to a second woman, and threatening to kill both women.

Hemopo's trial, where he is representing himself, began last Friday. The identity of the victims and some of the evidence is suppressed.

The Crown alleges Hemopo used a hammer on one woman, fracturing her elbow and shoulder blade.

She was able to leave the house and call police.

It is alleged Hemopo had cut the throat of the second woman, and cut his own neck, by the time police burst into the bedroom.

It was put to one of the women during cross-examination yesterday from a lawyer helping the court, that one of the women had used the hammer and then cut her own and Hemopo's necks, but she denied it.

The statement of ambulance officer Nigel Watson was read to the jury today.

Watson's statement said the pregnant woman's cut was superficial but she was lucky it was not any deeper because it was close to the carotid artery.

Another woman who was outside the house in the suburb of Waitangirua had a hole near her elbow. However, it had not punctured the artery that ran the length of her arm.

Watson's statement said a man inside the house was injured and was gurgling as he breathed.

He had a hole in his back and until Watson saw that he had not known the man had been shot.

The man had also been tasered and the prongs that delivered an electric current were still stuck in his back.

Watson tried to remove one prong, but it caused the man more pain.

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"He told me to leave him alone, in a more colourful way," Watson said.

Ambulance staff were concerned the man might drown in his own blood and he was taken to Wellington Hospital where a full trauma team was waiting.

Another witness described Hemopo as having a "moderately deep" cut in his throat.

- The Dominion Post

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