Wanted man Gregory McPeake had one last cigarette as he grappled with police before dying during an arrest at Napier's Westshore Beach.

The moment was shown yesterday in Taser-camera images shown to a jury in Napier District Court on the second day of a trial in which four Hawke's Bay police officers are each charged with assaulting Mr McPeak with a weapon.

Judge Phillip Cooper, Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk and defence counsel have all stressed there was no causal link between the death and anything any of the officers did in the incident that developed when he was ordered to get out of his vehicle in a beachfront car park just north of the Westshore Surf Life Saving Club just before 12.50am on March 13, 2015.

The officers, who have interim name suppression, each deny excessive force was used in the arrest and that their actions were reasonable and proportionate to what they knew about Mr McPeake and his circumstances at the time.


The images, from two Taser X2s used to shoot electronic probes into the vehicle, show the 179kg Mr McPeake sitting at the driver's wheel after police smashed the windows when there were no responses to loud-hailer calls telling him he was under arrest and had to get out of the vehicle and surrender.

The images show him lighting the cigarette before being struck by the probes fired from separate Tasers either side of the vehicle, reeling in pain as he was also spotted with OC Spray and bitten by police dogs trying to make him get out.

He eventually fell out, became unresponsive as police tried to secure his hands behind his back, and died at the scene despite first aid from police and paramedics.

Police had been wanting 53-year-old Mr McPeake since he attacked his parents, aged in their 70s, at their home in Prospect Rd about six-and-a-half hours before he was found.

Earlier yesterday, daughter Bianca, who was in New Plymouth at the time and unaware her father was in Hawke's Bay until police contacted her in his hours on the run, told of the lengthy estrangement of her father from his parents.

On the night she was concerned he may have had his crossbow with him.

Later she would tell an officer her father had told her that if he ever became terminally ill he would kill his parents and park near the water to die.

She was aware he had a heart condition, for which he used an oral spray when he was having difficulties.

The last moments were also related in court by Westshore residents awoken by vehicles and police staff arriving in the vicinity of the car park - one confessing in court to being a "rubber-necker" and another saying she opened a door to a veranda to see what was going on as she told her husband: "If we're going to be nosey, we may as well do it properly."

They heard police appealing to the occupant of a vehicle parked at the reserve.

When there was no response, a group of police advanced on the car from either side, residents hearing smashing of glass, a "pop-pop-pop" and a woman yelling "Taser. Taser. Taser," residents said.

Moments later the scene went quiet, and soon afterwards other emergency service vehicles began to arrive.