Red Fox Tavern trial: Witness describes being forced to find keys in dead man's pockets

A witness to the killing of Red Fox Tavern publican Chris Bush in 1987 has described how she was forced by the robbers to go through the dead man's pockets to find some safe keys.

Stephanie Prisk was having an after hours drink with the publican and two other staff members when she says two balaclava-clad men burst through the back door.

"Two people came in and said, 'this is an armed robbery'. One had a gun, and one had a baseball bat", she said.

"Chris stood up and something happened and there was a big explosion."

"Chris fell to the floor and the gunman was screaming obscenities and yelling and it was crazy and then he said, 'get on the floor, get down on the floor all of you now'."

Prisk says the robbers then demanded the keys to the tavern's safe.

"So I crawled up the floor and looked in Chris' pockets and searched for the keys and I held them up and said 'here are the keys'."

"They said you now have to open the safe, you have to open the safe. I said I can't do that because I hadn't seen the keys before, I don't know what they do."

Prisk is one of three staff members to give evidence on what happened that night in Maramarua in 1987.

Two men have been charged with murder, Mark Hoggart and a 62-year-old who has interim name suppression.