Kiwi strippers confronted man with 'big gun'

Kiwi stripper Aidan Te Puke was struggling to control the alleged intruder, the court heard. Photo / thunderfromdownunder.com
Kiwi stripper Aidan Te Puke was struggling to control the alleged intruder, the court heard. Photo / thunderfromdownunder.com

The head stripper of Australia's Thunder from Down Under troupe has told a Las Vegas court how he desperately tried to pin down the hand of a man threatening to fire a .44 calibre "Dirty Harry" Magnum revolver.

Mathew Fardell said he came off stage at their show at the Excalibur Casino on March 18 and was told an intruder was being held by other members of his troupe.

He went out to a patio and saw Aidan Te Puke and Ryan Paki - originally from New Zealand and now based in Australia - struggling to control the alleged intruder, 24-year-old Joey Kadmiri.

Fardell said he attempted to "choke out" Kadmiri, but when that failed they jostled and eventually they all fell to the ground. Other strippers and staff came to help. That's when Kadmiri produced the revolver, he said.

"He yelled, 'I've got a gun. I'm going to shoot now'," Fardell told the district court on Tuesday.

Fardell said he was petrified. "I turned and in his hand was the biggest gun you have ever seen in your life," Fardell told the jury.

The performer said he put all of his might on Kadmiri's wrist to make sure the gun was pointing away from them, when Kadmiri pulled the trigger and the bullet hit the wall of an Italian restaurant.

Prosecutor Kenneth Portz, in his opening address, said Kadmiri snuck into the Thunder Down Under dressing room on March 18 hours before the strippers took to the stage.

Scott Berchtold, an engineer for the show, found Kadmiri in the dressing room wearing a Sydney Fire Department T-shirt the performers wear in the show, the court heard.

Kadmiri allegedly told Berchtold he was a new performer.

When some of the performers noticed a briefcase containing their items on a patio adjoining their dressing room, they went out and inspected it.

The court heard Kadmiri came out of the darkness, claimed the case was his and an argument erupted. As Berchtold and the performers restrained Kadmiri, he pulled the gun out.

"Scott Berchtold turns his head and is looking down the barrel of a gun," Portz said.

Portz said the weapon was a .44 calibre Magnum revolver and Kadmiri pulled the trigger, missing Berchtold's head.

"This is a big gun," the prosecutor said.

"It is a gun Clint Eastwood made famous in the Dirty Harry movies."

Berchtold suffered an abrasion on his face while Fardell had gun powder burns on his face and in his left eye.

Kadmiri faces charges including robbery with a weapon, burglary and battery with a weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm.

The trial continues.

-AAP

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