Alleged motorway shooting accomplice admits charges

A woman police say was an accomplice of alleged motorway gunman Stephen McDonald in the lead-up to the fatal shooting by police of a teenage courier driver has admitted five charges today.

Margaret Patricia Iris Mann, 19, pleaded guilty to the charges when she appeared in Waitakere District Court today, a court official said.

Three of the charges - unlawfully getting into a stolen vehicle, failing to stop for police and driving while forbidden - related to events on January 23 when she allegedly acted as an accomplice of McDonald.

Two charges she admitted today - another of driving while forbidden and one of giving false details - related to earlier events.

Mann was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Waitakere District Court on April 24.

Police alleged Mann was driving the stolen blue Toyota Corsa in the West Auckland suburb of Glen Eden last Friday from which McDonald first aimed a gun at police. They said Mann was caught by police after the pair ditched the car.

McDonald who was armed, fled and allegedly went on to twice steal vehicles at gunpoint.

Police say they pursued him through several suburbs, before halting him on the Northwestern Motorway about 2pm.

It was during an armed confrontation once the car had been stopped that an innocent courier driver, 17-year-old Halatau Naitoko, was caught in the crossfire and killed by a police bullet.

McDonald, 50, was later charged with 29 offences including 10 of using a firearm against police and is due back in Auckland District Court tomorrow.

- NZPA

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