20 Apr 2016

Officer tells of terror during shooting

4:54 pm on 20 April 2016

A judge has revealed graphic details of how two police officers were shot at after a car chase near Whanganui last August.

A crashed police car remains on the side of Ngamokai Road as the hunt for Dolphy Kohu continues.

A crashed police car on the side of Ngamokai Road during last year's manhunt near Whanganui. Photo: Radio NZ / Alexander Robertson

During the sentencing of an accomplice in the High Court in Whanganui today, Justice Ellis described the moment when the gunman, Dolphy Kohu, opened fire on Sergeant Shaun Jones and Constable Darren Barrow near Raetihi.

She said when he found himself trapped in his car against a fence, Mr Kohu shot directly at Sergeant Jones as the officer approached with his taser drawn.

"Mr Kohu presented a sawn-off semi-automatic .22 rifle and fired it directly at Sergeant Jones.

"Sergeant Jones and Constable Barrow both ran for cover and, as they did so, Mr Kohu got out of the vehicle through the open window and continued to fire at them. He fired five shots in total."

Dolphy Kohu

Dolphy Kohu Photo: Supplied

Mr Kohu died suddenly in Whanganui Prison in January.

In his victim impact statement, Constable Barrow recounted his relief after each shot at finding he had not been hit and his terror when, at one stage, he thought Sergeant Jones had been hit.

Sergeant Jones decided not to make a statement.

Two attempted murder charges against Mr Kohu were withdrawn in March, and his death has been referred to the coroner.

Justice Ellis today sentenced Carlos Bushell, an accomplice of Mr Kohu, to nine months supervision and 250 hours communtiy work.

He had earlier admitted helping Mr Kohu avoid arrest during the day-long manhunt for him around Ohakune and Raetihi, and the judge gave him credit for his early guilty plea.

Another defendant, Hereina Paul, has also admitted helping Mr Kohu evade arrest.

She is due to be sentenced in June.

Carlos Bushell during his sentencing in the High Court in Whanganui on 20 April 2016.

Carlos Bushell during his sentencing in the High Court in Whanganui Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Armed police officers leave an address in Ohakune during the search.

Armed police leave an address in Ohakune during last year's manhunt in the central North Island. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson