10 Feb 2010

Witness feared for life, murder trial told

8:42 pm on 10 February 2010

A witness says he feared for his life when a gang prospect accused of murder got hold of a gun outside a Hawke's Bay tavern.

Hulio Ataria is charged with fatally stabbing agriculture contractor Mark McCutcheon in January last year.

Mr McCutcheon, 34, was stabbed three times outside the Sandford Arms Tavern in Ongaonga shortly after he went to the aid of a woman who was being assaulted.

Mr Ataria, 23, has admitted being responsible, but says he acted in self-defence.

Witness Craig Mullan told the High Court in Napier on Wednesday he was at the hotel where there had been angry exchanges between Mr McCutcheon and a patched gang member over an assault on a woman in a car.

Mr McMullan says when Mr McCutcheon went to his ute and pulled out a gun in its case, he felt very frightened.

But shortly after when Mr Ataria got hold of the gun, he feared he may be shot.