Cop killers accomplice Natalie Bracken used methamphetamine, breached release conditions

A Northlander who helped a police killer avoid arrest has admitted using methamphetamine in breach of prison-release conditions.

Natalie Jane Bracken was jailed by the High Court at Auckland in October for 12 months after she was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The 31-year-old drove Eli Bob Sauni Epiha, who shot Constable Matthew Hunt in Massey, West Auckland in June last year,away from the scene.

Bracken had been at a friend’s house when she was drawn outside by the commotion.

She decided to help Epiha, although she maintained at trial that she did not know him.

During the trial, the jury watched a phone recording of Bracken retrieving a set of keys and driving Epiha away in a silver Mazda. She dropped him at his friend’s house in Taupaki.

Epiha pleaded guilty to the murder of Hunt and was found guilty of the attempted murder of Hunt’s partner, Constable David Goldfinch, and this morning he was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of 27 years.

He was also ordered to serve 12 years for the attempted murder of Constable Goldfinch and one year for injuring a bystander, who was hit by Epiha’s car as he fled the two officers.

Epiha’s sentence is among the longest handed down by a New Zealand court.

After her release from prison for helping Epiha escape, Bracken was charged with breaching her release condition by using meth and appeared in the Kaitaia District Court this week.

She was convicted and discharged.

Bracken had used meth the day she helped Epiha avoid arrest.

Diane Hunt, Matthew Hunt’s mother, told the High Court during Bracken’s sentencing that Bracken had many chances to take responsibility for her actions.

Instead, she said Bracken made her family sit through a two-week trial during which Bracken laughed a number of times.

The only display of shame from Bracken was when her unflattering police interview was played in court and she hung her head, Diane Hunt said.

Although a pro-social home detention address had been proposed, the High Court was of the view that a jail term was needed.

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