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Trial of duo accused of Gold Coast police shooting begins

The funeral procession for Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding.
The funeral procession for Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding.

A GUNMAN allegedly shot a Gold Coast police officer in the face before re-loading his shot gun, grabbing a bag of stolen cash and dragging it past the officer's body to escape, a court has heard.

The trial of Donna Lee McAvoy and Phillip Graeme Abell charged with murdering Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding began today in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Snr Cst Leeding, 35, died after he was shot while responding to armed hold-up at the Pacific Pines Tavern on May 29, 2011.

McAvoy and Abell have pleaded not guilty to murder.

Both have pleaded guilty to armed robbery with violence and seven counts of deprivation of liberty.

In his opening address, Crown Prosecutor Todd Fuller showed chilling photographs of the armed hold-up captured on CCTV footage.

The photographs showed two people, one weilding a shotgun and the other a bag, storming into the Gold Coast tavern.

Another photograph showed tavern patrons on the floor with their hands behind their backs.

The Crown alleges the man weilding the gun was Abell while the person with the bag was McAvoy.

Mr Fuller said tavern manager Kelly McLaren was forced to take money from the safe at gunpoint.

The court heard the amount stolen was about $16,000.

Ms McLaren, two other tavern employees and patrons were led into a storeroom as McAvoy and McLaren allegedly made their way out.

The court heard Snr Cst Leeding and his partner Detective Senior Constable Nicole Jackson arrived at the tavern just before 10:40pm.

Mr Fuller said Snr Cst Jackson heard Snr Cst Leeding yell out "stop police" and then two shots rang out.

Snr Cst Jackson saw Snr Cst Leeding lying on the ground on his back, the court heard.

Mr Fuller explained the gunman allegedly reloaded his weapon before he walked back up towards his partner, they grabbed the bag with cash, walked past the officer and dragged the bag into the car park.

The jury heard the extend of Snr Cst Leeding's horrific injuries, including blinding to both eyes, an open wound above his eyes, skull fractures and brain hemorrhaging.

"He had a non-recoverable brain injury and the decision was made to take him off life support," Mr Fuller said.

McAvoy, who sat on opposite ends of the dock to her co-accused, wiped away tears as the injuries were recounted.

The trial will continue at 2:30pm.

Topics:  court, gold coast police, police shooting



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