Loburn man insists he called 111 after shooting

Loburn man Luke Adam Nickless is adamant that he phoned 111 after he says a shotgun went off accidentally in his hands, shooting his ex-partner in the leg.

The police say they can find no record of the call.

The issue came before the Christchurch District Court when the jury asked a question through Judge Jane Farish in Nickless’ trial on charges of assaulting the woman, wounding her with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, threatening to kill, and several firearm possession charges.

After the question from the jury on Tuesday, the officer in charge of the case, Detective Matthew Reynolds, said he had checked the telecommunications records related to the incident and he could find no record of Nickless ever ringing 111. The telco records show the ambulance was called from a neighbouring property.

A neighbour who came to the scene of the incident said he spoke to Nickless who appeared to be in shock, not aggressive, and said he had called an ambulance.

Nickless said in evidence that he had phoned 111 on the house’s landline and got through to someone. They later called him back but there was a problem with reception because he was outside at the gate of the property.

Nickless, a 35-year-old roofer, described the woman, Renaye Strachan, as being “wild” and a daily cannabis user and an abuser of medication. He acknowledged that they had smoked methamphetamine together at the start of their relationship.

The trial is now in its third day, and may finish on Thursday.

Before he gave his evidence, Nickless pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful possession of the cut-down pump-action shotgun that was used in the shooting. He said he had cut down the butt so that it could be placed in a scabbard on his back while he was pig hunting through thick gorse.

Nickless said that two days before the shooting, he had met the victim, Renaye Strachan, at McDonalds in Rangiora. She had threatened to get him killed by someone she named, and also threatened that he would never see his children again.

Nickless said he had taken the shotgun outside his house two nights before the incident because a large cat fight had been taking place. He did not fire it, and then thought he ejected all the rounds from the magazine. He thought the gun was empty.

He asked the victim to bring the two boys – one of theirs, and one of hers from a previous relationship – to his property on September 29, 2017, to ride mini motorcycles.

He described an incident in which he said he only took the keys out of her parked car and put them on the roof to turn the car’s radio off, and a struggle over a phone. Nickless denied choking her.

When Mrs Strachan went out to her car with her children, he got his shotgun from a wardrobe. “I just wanted her to engage with me and sit down and talk to me,” he told the jury.

He denied placing her keys and cellphone on the top of a fence post to make her get them.

He said he went to pump the shotgun so that it would “make the sound”, and it went off in his hands, shooting his ex-partner in the leg. He threw the gun onto the ground and went to help her and bandaged her leg. He said she told him: “Why don’t you go kill yourself?”

Nickless said he had previously handed all his firearms – except for the shotgun – to his cousin to look after, but he acknowledged in court that they were still his firearms. Those firearms were described as military style semi-automatic weapons because of the magazines that were fitted to them.

The trial is continuing.

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