Court told Winders fired at hunters

Quinton Winders
Quinton Winders

A pig hunter from Taranaki has described how he ran for his life after being shot at by a man he believes was murder-accused Quinton Winders.

Nigel Ford was giving evidence at the High Court in Rotorua on Friday, where Winders is on trial for murdering road worker George Taiaroa in 2013.

Part of the Crown's case is that Winders had a tendency to overact and was prepared to use firearms dangerously against other people, even for minor reasons.

Mr Ford told the court in early 2009 he was hunting with his son, a friend of his and his nephew in an area which bordered Winders' property in Pohukura, near Whangamomona.

As he and the boys walked along a track, he told the court he "physically felt a bullet go past me".  He said the shot hit dirt metres in front of him and then, seconds later, another shot was fired over his head. He turned to the boys and told them to run.

"We were sprinting hard. We were running for our lives basically."

As they ran, he says a third shot rang out.

Mr Ford told the court he never saw who fired the shots. However, he later discovered Winders had bragged to a neighbour Ken Lobb about scaring off some poachers.

Earlier, the High Court heard from a farmer who used to live next door to Winders, who was also shot at.

Bryan Kuriger says in 2011 he was parked in his ute with a friend shining a spotlight up into a hill when a shot was fired in his direction. "I heard a shot ring out over the top of the ute, and yeah, we moved on", said Mr Kuriger.

He told the court the shots "definitely" came from a .22 rifle.

A year later Mr Kuriger was following a stag up to a ridgeline on his property when he heard two  shots ring out in the vicinity of where he was standing. He said the shots came from the direction of Winders' property.

"I thought it was a .22 again, just by the sound of the crack."

However, Mr Kuriger never saw who fired the shots, nor did he ever raise either incident with Winders.

The trial continues.