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'One of 23 firearms' could have fired shot

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/08/2016
George Taiaroa © Supplied George Taiaroa

One of 23 possible firearms could have fired the fatal shot that killed road worker George Taiaroa, a forensic scientist has told a murder trial.

Forensic scientist Kevan Walsh was giving evidence in the High Court at Rotorua, where Quinton Paul Winders, 45, is on trial for murdering Mr Taiaroa near Atiamuri, south of Tokoroa, on March 19, 2013.

Mr Walsh said on Tuesday that he believed the shot that killed Mr Taiaroa was fired from some distance.

He said the distance could vary between different types of firearms and ammunition.

Three fragments taken from Mr Taiaroa's head were typical of those from a bullet from a .22 rifle and he was confident they didn't come from a firearm of another calibre.

Working from rifling groves on the bullet fragments. Mr Walsh said he was able to narrow down 23 potential firearms that could have fired the shot.

Pressed by crown prosecutor Chris Macklin about his words "could have", he said he couldn't be more precise.

On April 4, 2013, Mr Walsh went to Winders' parents' property, where he examined a blue Jeep Cherokee.

He said apart from being a little dusty it was quite clean and he wasn't able to see any blood or tissue.

Chemical tests were carried out on the front passenger seat cover for signs of blood but none was found nor were there any traces of it on a visible stain on the seat base.

Areas of the Jeep were swabbed for later DNA testing.

Questioned about the time lapse between the shooting and the jeep being examined, Mr Walsh said he would expect any staining to remain unless the vehicle had been cleaned or the material removed.

Swabs for gunshot residue were also taken from inside the vehicle and sent to the United States for analysis but nothing significant was found.

Mr Walsh will be cross-examined on Wednesday.

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