A young woman who shot dead a man threatening guests with a meat cleaver at their Lower Hutt home may have called out for her mum's help before opening fire.
Adam Watkins, 39, died after he was shot by Daryl Kirk three times with a semi-automatic rifle.
Kirk, 20, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Watkins - her mum's partner - at their Taita, Lower Hutt home in February last year, maintaining she shot him in self defence.
On the night Mr Watkins was killed, the group had guests over when he and Kelly Kirk - the accused's mother with whom he had a violent relationship - got in a heated argument.
Mr Watkins had a history of being abusive to his partner including physical attacks, witness Hanna Burke told the High Court at Wellington today.
"He had come in and pretty much verbally lost it," she said.
"That was his usual way, to nut out like he did." Mr Watkins threw a can at Ms Burke's head before he challenged her to a fistfight. He then grabbed a meat cleaver and forced his guests to leave the house.
He was swinging the weapon around "like a madman" with the "psycho" episode continued for around 20 minutes, Ms Burke said.
"He was chopping at everyone with it. It wasn't just me... I feared for my life at one stage.
"He was standing over me and it was heading towards my head."
While three of the guests - Ms Burke, her partner and Kelly - had been forced out of the house, Kirk remained inside.
Ms Burke says she believed she heard Kirk saying "mum, help me" as loud bangs came from inside the property.
Then she heard the gunshots before Mr Watkins stumbled out the front of the house holding the wound to his neck.
Kirk fired six times with three of the bullets finding their mark. One shot entered his back via a ricochet off a door.
The Crown alleges one shot was fired at Mr Watkins as he tried to get away.
One of the central themes of the case is whether Kirk or anyone else was at immediate risk and if Kirk's actions were manifestly excessive.
The trial continues.