and Maninoa Felise listen to evidence given in a trial where they are accused of being involved in a Mount Maunganui home invasion. Photo / George Novak200120gn01bop.JPGBy Kiri Gillespie
When Philip Lanigan heard the sound of a sledgehammer crashing through his front door, he knew he and his wife were "going to be set upon really quickly".
The Mount Maunganui man began giving evidence yesterday at the trial of two men accused of being involved in a home invasion in the early hours of July 20, 2018.
Chaliedene Taueki and Maninoa Vincent Felise, have each pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated robbery and a charge of aggravated burglary when they appeared in Tauranga District Court.
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The Crown says they were part of a group of armed and masked intruders who held Lanigan and his wife at gunpoint and demanded drugs and money. However, the defence says the two men were not in Tauranga when the event happened.
Langian told the court it was about 4.15am when he and his wife woke to the sound of grunting and swearing outside their Valley Rd home.
Within seconds, the first of at least three loud bangs came from the front door.
Lanigan told the court he and his wife knew they were "going to be set upon really quickly" and attempted to escape.
Lanigan said he managed to escape from under the garage door, dressed only in boxers, but went back for wife Jo and was confronted by a masked man in the hallway, holding a gun.
"He came out and he was pointing ... he was pointing a rifle at me," Lanigan said.
"He said only one thing to me: 'We want the drugs and we want the money'.
"Facing this guy with a gun, I thought... this could be it'."
The demand for money and drugs convinced Lanigan the men had the wrong house. He said he told the man they had no drugs or money, but they had a safe. He led the man into the bedroom where the safe was and where his screaming wife was lying on the floor with another man standing over her, Lanigan said.
Lanigan said he saw two other men but believed there was a third turning lights on and off.
The court heard that as Lanigan began trying to open the safe, one of the men said: "if you don't get the safe open in 30 seconds I'm going to kill your f**ken dog".
It was the last threat Lanigan received before someone yelled "police" and the men disappeared, he said.
Lanigan said he heard a commotion he believed could have been a struggle between the offenders and police but he stayed inside the bedroom with his wife.
Lanigan will continue giving evidence today.