Shooting relived nightly

THE ACCUSED: Steven Robert Nicol, 32.
THE ACCUSED: Steven Robert Nicol, 32.

A man shot in the face with a sawn-off rifle denies allegations suggesting he shot himself, and says he still has nightmares about the incident.

In the High Court at Hamilton yesterday, Steven Robert Nicol, 32, denied a charge of the attempted murder of Christopher Young in Cogswell Rd, Raglan, on April 18, last year.

Through his lawyer, Matthew Bates, Nicol also denied an alternative charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Instead he claimed Young shot himself after the pair struggled with the .22 rifle in the front seat of a Holden Rodeo.

But that suggestion infuriated Young as he sat in the witness box.

"It was after it had gone off and seen it in his lap.

"I wrestled it out of his grip . . . I relive that night every single night," Young said.

Bates repeatedly put it to Young that he had the gun pointed at Nicol - however, Nicol was able to bend Young's arm enough for the gun to point back at Young's head, with Young himself eventually pulling the trigger.

The pair had headed out to the secluded Raglan spot to "have a puff" of P, Young said.

Nicol was paranoid at the time as he was on the run from police for allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine.

Earlier, Crown prosecutor Ross Douch said Nicol picked Young in Hamilton before driving out towards Raglan.

Nicol eventually found Cogswell Rd and was reversing the Holden Rodeo, he had previously stolen, into a gravel layby when he asked Young to see if there was enough room. As Young turned his head back in to the vehicle, Nicol allegedly shot him through the side of the face.

Nicol then fled the scene and Young drove himself to a friend's house in Churchill Ave, Maeroa, before collapsing on their front porch.

In questioning from Douch, Young said the impact felt like being hit with the butt of the rifle and he turned to see Nicol holding the rifle on his lap.

"I'm looking out the side of the door guiding him back, sweet as, mate, then boom. I remember the car was still rolling back at the time . . . I didn't get to fully turn around and boof, I was hit by something."

Young said the impact put him in a daze: "My head was humming, and everything just seemed twilight zoney, yeah. It was obvious that I had been whacked or hit by something."

Despite blood starting to fill his throat, Young managed to wrestle the gun off Nicol, asking him why he had shot him.

"He said ‘you know what that was all about', but still to this day I don't, and he proceeded to take off into the darkness."

Young said he was disorientated but his adrenaline was pumping and he became panicked as the blood kept coming up "from somewhere at a torrent".

"(Like) I had a hose in the back of my throat, just running blood."

Young said he threw the gun under the seat, jumped into the driver's seat and drove off. At the start of the trial before a jury of five men and seven women, Nicol pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully taking a vehicle, unlawful possession of a firearm and burglary. The trial is expected to finish tomorrow.

Waikato Times