Key Points:

Police knew of several incidents involving an armed Graeme Burton robbing and beating up drug dealers at the end of November last year, but declined to use the information to get him recalled to prison.

On January 6 this year Burton, on the run from police, shot and killed Karl Kuchenbecker. He was shot by police and his leg was later amputated.

An inquest into Mr Kuchenbecker's death in Wellington yesterday revealed the amount of intelligence police had five weeks before the murder - including an admission from Burton that he was robbing drug dealers.

The Corrections Department had asked police for an affidavit to support an application to the Parole Board to recall Burton to prison, based on intelligence that he was using weapons, drugs and "taxing" low-level drug dealers.

On December 1 police declined the request because they wanted to protect their sources of information. They could not lay any criminal charges against Burton at the time.

It was not until four weeks later that a recall application was approved, after Burton failed to report to his probation officer twice in preceding weeks.

Detective Inspector Shane Cotter, who led the hunt for Burton, said an affidavit would have been "missing detail and substance that would have greatly undermined its usefulness".

But under questioning from Coroner Garry Evans, Mr Cotter admitted it would have been up to the Parole Board to determine how useful the affidavit would have been.

The board would not have had to consider whether Burton had done anything criminal, but whether he posed a risk to public safety.

Mr Cotter conceded the affidavit could have included some details from several alleged incidents in November.

Around this time Detective Rapira Davies told Burton and an associate that police had informant-based information that they were assaulting and robbing low-level drug dealers in the area, which they both admitted.

When told their actions would attract more police attention, they said they "might tone things down a bit".

Emails between police and Corrections at the end of the month also revealed claims that Burton was buying drugs.

Mr Evans reserved his decision.

CRIME TRAIL
Police believe Graeme Burton was involved in several alleged incidents, including:

November 14: Burton and an associate beat up an unarmed person. Burton had a firearm and was wearing a bulletproof vest.

November 21: Burton and an associate, armed with a knife and gun, beat one person unconscious, while another suffered broken ribs.

November 22: Burton and an associate attacked a drug dealer.

November 24: Burton was hanging out at strip clubs with another paroled murderer.

November 25: Police were called to reports of people fighting at the Happy Valley Landfill and found Burton and two associates in a car. A balaclava and large hunting knife were in the car.