Stephanie is the Rotorua Daily Post's education and lifestyle reporter.

Taiaroa trial: Police got gang tip-off

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Quinton Paul Winders.
Quinton Paul Winders.

A public tip-off to police days after the fatal shooting of George Taiaroa suggested a gang may have been involved in the stop-go operator's death, a court has heard.

It came during the fourth day of Quinton Winders' trial in the High Court at Rotorua for the murder of Taiaroa on March 19, 2013 at Atiamuri. He has denied the charge.

The Crown says a minor crash a week before was the catalyst for Winders to return to the scene in a blue Jeep Cherokee and kill Taiaroa. However Winders' lawyer Jonathan Temm has this week questioned a workmate of Taiaroa, who admitted he had been threatened by Mongrel Mob members before the shooting.

Temm produced a police document from March 27, 2013 that contained details from an 0800 public information call that suggested a gang was involved in the death of Taiaroa.

Former detective Ricky Bagley confirmed the information was "fed into" the inquiry, but said 0800 lines received "massive volumes of information".

He said information about gang involvement was "a bit like Chinese whispers".

"Sometimes information comes through like that and it is gold but that's for management to decide."

Earlier, Richard and Michelle McMeekin recounted what they saw moments after Mr Taiaroa was shot.

"We had stopped at the stop-go sign. Then I saw a dark blue Jeep Cherokee coming over the bridge, speeding towards us," Richard McMeekin said.

Michelle McMeekin said she was taken aback to see a blue vehicle come "flying down" the bridge on Tram Rd.

"I mouthed some quite horrible words. I said 'slow the f*** down'. In a controlled area like that with stop-go signs, he was going very fast."

When cross examined by Temm, Michelle McMeekin confirmed that though she referred to the driver as ''olive skinned'' she had also previously described him to police as being of Maori descent.

The trial continues today.

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