26 May 2010

Wife of murder accused says night of shooting 'chaotic'

3:47 pm on 26 May 2010

The wife of one of the men accused of killing a police officer during a covert operation in South Auckland says the night of the shooting was chaotic.

John Skinner and Iain Clegg are on trial in the High Court in Auckland charged with murdering Sergeant Don Wilkinson and attempting to murder another officer, who has name suppression, in September 2008.

The officers were shot after being discovered trying to attach a tracking device to Mr Skinner's car outside his house in Mangere which was suspected of being used as a methamphetamine lab.

The Crown says the accused chased the officers, shooting both three times at close range with a high-powered rifle.

The defence says the accused thought the officers were car thieves and were trying to protect the property.

Tina Preece, the wife of Mr Skinner, told the court on Wednesday that, after the shooting, her husband returned with Mr Clegg and ran around trying to figure out who he had fired shots at.

Ms Preece says the men thought the officers were car thieves or home invaders, not police.

She says Mr Skinner told her he was the one who fired the shots and had done so because he thought one of the officers was reaching for something to cause harm.

Ms Preece told the court that both men changed shirts and washed their hands after they returned.