1 Mar 2016

WINZ employee tells jury of flying bullet

6:24 am on 1 March 2016

A woman has told the trial of double-murder accused Russell Tully how she felt a bullet fly past her head as she ran for the door.

Russell Tully at the High Court today.

Russell Tully in the High Court in Christchurch yesterday. Photo: POOL

Mr Tully, 49, is on trial for the murders of Peggy Noble and Leigh Cleveland and the attempted murders of their two colleagues, Kim Adams and Lindy Curtis, at the Ashburton Work and Income office in 2014.

The Crown said the bullet intended for Ms Adams only missed by two inches.

While being cross-examined by lawyer Phil Shamy in the High Court in Christchurch yesterday, Ms Adams was asked why she did not tell the police about feeling the bullet pass by her in her first statement.

"Obviously I am in shock. There was a whoosh, it was like somebody had blown past my face, past my cheek," she said.

"You can see smoke, I know you can see smoke ... to tell you the honest truth, I'm trying to get out of there."

Ms Adams stuck by her evidence that she had seen the gunman point the gun towards her as she was making for the door.

"I am sure exactly how it happened, I live it every day - I have since that day."

It was a tough day in the stand for Ms Adams, who was asked to relive the events of the shooting and look at CCTV images of the gunman in the office, although Justice Mander ordered Crown lawyer Andrew McRae to stop showing her the footage, saying it was unnecessary.

Crown lawyer Andrew McRae speaks at the trial of Russell John Tully.

Crown lawyer Andrew McRae speaks at Mr Tully's trial. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Earlier, security guard Neville Tahere told the jury how he ran from the office when the shooting began. He saw the gunman make his escape and then re-entered the building to see what had happened.

"I could hear Lindy yelling about her leg, 'my leg, my leg'," he said.

"And also there was another case manager swearing and cursing and asking if anybody had called the police."

Evidence was also given by a client, Lucy Waller, who said receptionist Peggy Noble hadn't seemed to notice when the gunman walked up beside her and pointed his gun at her.

Mr McRae asked her what she did after the gun went off.

"Turned and ran out after freezing for a little bit, I think."

The last image in her head of what she saw before she ran was of Mrs Noble screaming, she told Mr McRae.

For the second time during the trial, Mr Tully tried to stop proceedings from getting under way.

Mr Tully, who has been representing himself with the assistance of friends of the court James Rapley and Phil Shamy, claimed he didn't have a lawyer and needed to see a doctor, and that the trial could not start until that happened.

Justice Mander said those matters had already been traversed and asked for Mr Tully to remain quiet while evidence was being given.

After just three minutes in court, Mr Tully, who was again sitting in a wheelchair with Corrections officers on either side of him, was ordered to leave.

Today, the office case manager who Mr Tully is accused of attempting to murder, Ms Curtis, will give evidence.

The Crown said she had only avoided being killed by raising her leg when the shots were fired, thereby shielding her body.

  • WINZ shooting witness froze before running for her life
  • Stickers point to WINZ murder accused - Crown
  • WINZ murder-accused's court outburst
  • Accused intended killing all in office, court told
  • Trial of WINZ murder-accused postponed