TOP STORY: Drug deal meeting ended in murder - evidence

By Court Reporter

It was meant to be the beginning of a fresh life for Tauranga's Mikaere (Michael) O'Sullivan and Toni-Anne Nathan.
Just one more drug deal and the outgoing couple planned to get married, start a family and, more importantly, bid goodbye to their old way of life and a debt that came with it.
But little did they know their dreams were about to come to a gruesome end, when, in the early hours of October 31 last year, they carried out what they hoped would be their final deal underneath Te Puna's Wairoa Bridge.
In written evidence just released to the Bay of Plenty Times, the Crown alleges Rotorua truck driver Anthony Paul Doyle, 40, shot dead 42-year-old Mr O'Sullivan and his 39-year-old partner as they attempted to repay a $5000 debt to him.
Doyle, who has pleaded not guilty to the two murder charges, was arrested after the armed offenders squad surrounded his Konene St home, Rotorua, on the morning of November 6.
Among more than 250 pages of prosecution witness testimony, fellow truck driver Neil Rodgers told investigators his former flatmate and workmate told him about the October 31 meeting.
"[Doyle] said he got right over by the car and waited for Mikaere to look at him. [Doyle] said he pulled the gun up and pointed it at him and said `you shouldn't have ****** with me, Mikaere'," Mr Rodgers said in evidence.
He said Doyle recalled that while O'Sullivan had broken down "like a little girl", Ms Nathan attempted to make a run for it.
"[Doyle] said `she tried to start the car so I shot her again but **** all hit her, so I had to shoot her again."
Weapons of interest were later uncovered by police buried on the roadside, just kilometres from Rotorua, and another was concealed in the back of Mr Rodgers' work truck, the evidence says.
The burnt remains of clothing and shoes were also recovered from a rubbish bin in the Auckland suburb of Wiri.
According to one of Mr O'Sullivan's three sons, Shayhann Henry, 25, both his father and Ms Nathan lived for drugs _ including selling and using methamphetamine.
It was through these dealings the couple became acquainted with Doyle, referred to by many in the drug world as "Truckie".
But Mr Henry recalled things turned nasty back in late 2004 when his father bought two ounces of methamphetamine from Doyle but had enough money for only one.
"My dad only had $10,000 but he wanted both ounces so he asked [Doyle] if he could buy one and tick the other."
He promised to pay the balance within 24 hours.
But when Mr O'Sullivan arrived a day late, Doyle allegedly demanded an additional $5000 which remained unpaid until the night of their deaths.
Doyle and Mr O'Sullivan regularly spoke to others about the unresolved debt, with Mr O'Sullivan warning many people, including his sons, to avoid "doing deals" with the "dangerous man".
But Mr O'Sullivan continued to work with Doyle _ despite knowing he had a "grudge" against him.

The accused man is alleged to have used drugs as bribery in an attempt to find Mr O'Sullivan's home address.
Mr O'Sullivan's sons also talked about seeing Doyle with several weapons, including a pump-action shotgun and 12-gauge double barrelled "under-over".
Casino Henry, 20, said Doyle, who was described by many as a "junkie" with a heavy P addiction, always wore a big trench coat.
"He wears the gun with a strap across his chest and it's velcroed to the side of his jacket so it doesn't stick out."
Ms Nathan's second-cousin, Kristov Davis, told the court he was one of the last people to see the pair alive when they dropped into his Henderson address, late on October 31.
"I would have arrived home at about 11pm [October 30]. When I arrived Mikaere asked to see me in the room," he recalled.
It was during this private conversation Mikaere, who was weighing and bagging the drug ice, allegedly told Mr Davis his problems with Doyle would soon be over _ he was finally going to pay up.
"Mikaere said `I've got that idiot sussed' _ he was meaning Truckie, he said `I'm going to get him out of my hair'.
"Mikaere was quite upbeat that he was in a position that he was going to clear the debt with Truckie. Mikaere was kind of saying `I've finally done it, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was, bro'."
But just hours later, after a speedy trip back to the Bay of Plenty, the pair were dead _ lying in pools of blood as their silver Nissan Skyline stood idle until it was discovered by two young kayakers under the Wairoa Bridge just before 7am on October 31.
A pathologist later confirmed Mr O'Sullivan died as a result of a close-range gunshot wound to the chest, while Ms Nathan had wounds to both her head and chest _ one fired from less than a metre away.
Other Crown witnesses, Te Puna's Marina Palmer and son John Elvin, were awoken by these echoing gunshots as they slept in their car in the same reserve.
"At about 2.45am this [that] morning we were still parked on the grass verge," she said in her evidence.
Just a short time earlier she had observed a dark-coloured motor vehicle, with a square-shaped back, drive into the reserve _ closely followed by gunshots.
"It was only a short time after the vehicle went past that I heard the sound of a gunshot going off," she said.
"John woke up in the back and that's when I heard the second gunshot going off. I know the second gunshot was at 2.46am _ the clock in our car came up with this time.''
Doyle is due to reappear in the High Court at Rotorua for a trial callover on June 22.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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