As blood welled up from the gunshot wound in her partner’s chest, Pakini Yelash performed CPR and tried to staunch the bleeding.
But her brave efforts after the alleged home invasion were to no avail.
Those were the scenes that confronted the first police officer who burst through the door, gun drawn, at the home Yelash shared with her father in Mt Roskill.
Yelash is giving evidence in the Auckland High Court trial of three men accused of murdering her partner, Brian James.
The Crown says Apisaloma Timoti pulled the trigger of the .22 calibre rifle amid a desperate scuffle in the Glass Rd home on December 23, 2021.
He went to the home with Angelo Junior Thomsen, who injured two other men with a machete, and the pair were acting at the behest of Robin Leota, the prosecution alleges.
All three are culpable in the death of James, Crown prosecutor Sam McMullan says.
Their trial began yesterday with the trio pleading not guilty to all charges, watched by a packed public gallery. The trial is set down for four weeks.
They are also jointly charged with wounding two other men in the home with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Timoti’s lawyer Nicola Manning told the jury a key issue for them to decide was whether her client pulled the trigger, and whether it was intentional. David Dickinson, representing Thomsen, said questions of reliability and credibility would loom large in the trial.
Leota is charged with helping Thomsen evade arrest after the killing and unlawful possession of a shotgun.
Yelash described a festive mood in the home two days before Christmas.
She said methamphetamine and cannabis were used in the home, and James sold drugs, but painted a picture of a largely happy and contented life with her partner and father.
James was in good spirits when he came home from his work as a barber, she said.
He was drinking in the lounge with her father Wiki and a man called Jason Cooper.
Then came a knock at the door. James went to answer, then called to Wiki “someone’s at the door for you”, Yelash said.
But as James returned down the hall he was pursued by the stranger at the door, wielding a machete. He attacked her father with the blade, she said.
Wiki grabbed the man with the machete by the hands, pushing him down the hall, followed by Cooper and James.
The fracas moved into an adjoining room then the man with the machete turned to the man with the gun and said “shoot him, shoot him”, Yelash said.
After the shooting, she ran to a neighbour’s house before returning, finding her partner face down and unresponsive.
She was on the phone to 111 and an operator told her how to perform CPR and apply pressure to the wound in his chest.
“It felt like I was doing CPR for so long,” she said.
Cooper, who had been attacked with a machete, was slumped against a wall and moving in and out of consciousness but tried to help her.
A police officer eventually burst into the home, gun drawn.
“I put my hands up. I said I needed help,” she said.
The officer moved through the home to clear every room, before Yelash received the news she was dreading.
“I had a feeling what he was going to say and I asked him to please not say it,” she said.
“He proceeded to tell me my partner was dead.”
The trial continues.