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Man sought help before kidnap: witness

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/11/2016

About a fortnight before his Tarawera lake retreat was allegedly invaded at gunpoint, the businessman owner asked the area's security camera operator if he had any contacts who could look after him.

Testifying in the High Court at Rotorua on Monday, the operator said he told the businessman his first port of call should be the police.

"I told him most of my contacts are older now but I did give him the names of a couple of proper companies," he said.

The witness said that, in the early hours of February 17 last year, he received a pager alert from the businessman's girlfriend which read: "Just had break-in and possible kidnapping."

He called 111 and was instructed to go to the road and identify vehicles.

On trial are: Benjamin Paul Dwyer, 28, Stephen William Daly, 33, Jordan Alexander Christian, 21, David Peter Clark, 36, Brent Anthony Gunning, 37, Liam John Kane, 24, Matthew John McDonnell, 45, Stacy Walton Dennis Paora, 29, and Sam Wiremu Rolleston 23.

They have pleaded not guilty to more than 100 charges laid either separately or jointly.

A Taupo bank teller told of a man coming to her business banking desk on February 17 last year presenting his passport as identification.

"He apologised for not having his wallet with him saying he'd left home in a hurry that morning," she said.

"He withdrew $10,000. He didn't make conversation, didn't make eye contact. There was slight bruising on his forehead."

A Vodafone shop assistant from the same town told how an "anxious looking" man came in asking for the cheapest phone with credit on it.

Earlier in the trial, the businessman outlined going into the bank after he'd been kidnapped and had demands made by his captors for cash.

He said he'd bought a cellphone to try and contact his girlfriend.

Two witnesses told of the businessman's maintenance worker arriving unexpectedly at their flat on February 17 asking to use a cellphone.

One described him appearing "a little bit cooked", as if he was abusing drugs.

Hamilton-based detective Bernadette Kelly said when she showed the maintenance employee a series of photo montages, he picked out Daly and Dwyer, referring to Daly as "the main guy throughout the thing".

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