Guilty of attempted murder

Published date28 July 2021
Publication titleWhanganui Chronicle
The jury has also decided to convict the woman who drove him away from the rampage, despite claims from her lawyers that she was actually a good Samaritan only trying to prevent a “bloodbath” of police colleagues about to be ambushed as they rushed to the scene.

Eli Bob Sauni Epiha, 25, was found guilty of the attempted murder of Constable David Goldfinch after 11 hours of deliberation over two days following nearly two weeks of testimony. In a somewhat unusual step, Epiha pleaded guilty to the murder of Goldfinch’s partner, Constable Matthew Hunt, several days before his trial began.

Co-defendant Natalie Jane Bracken, 31, was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact to wounding Hunt with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. She started the trial charged with accessory after the fact to murder, but her lawyers successfully argued to the judge that Hunt hadn’t been officially declared dead yet when she drove Epiha from the scene.

“Love you, Eli,” a supporter yelled out as he was led out of the courtroom.

Diane Hunt, mother of slain Constable Hunt, was surrounded by family and supporters outside the High Court at Auckland following the guilty verdict.

“It’s been a long time to get here.

“The past two-plus weeks have been harrowing for all of us. Listening to what happened to Matthew and Dave on Friday the 19th of June 2020 can’t be described in words. The loss of Matt has been made all the more traumatic by having to hear every possible detail that happened that day,” she said.

“Our thoughts are with Dave and his family and we would like to acknowledge his incredible courage. We would like to extend our sincere thoughts to the injured...

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