Northland woman who helped Matthew Hunts killer fails to show up in Kaitāia court

A Northland woman previously jailed for helping a police killer avoid arrest, and now facing a second breach of release conditions, has failed to show up at court.

Natalie Jane Bracken, 31, was scheduled to appear today in Kaitāia District Court to enter a plea to the breach charge.

But there was no sign of her. Judge Deidre Orchard issued a warrant to arrest.

Bracken was sentenced last October in the High Court at Auckland to 12-months imprisonment after being found guilty by a jury of being an accessory after the fact to an offence of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The charge arose after she drove 25-year-old Eli Bob Sauni Epiha away from the scene where he fatally shot Constable Matthew Hunt during an incident in West Auckland in June 2020.

By the time the sentence was formally imposed, Bracken had already nearly served it through time on remand either in custody or on restrictive bail. By December she was out on release conditions but breached them by using methamphetamine.

She appeared in Kaitāia District Court and was convicted and discharged. The nature of this latest alleged breach is not yet known.

Epiha was ultimately sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 27 years after pleading guilty to murdering Constable Hunt and being found guilty of attempting to murder Hunt’s partner Constable David Goldfinch.

The sentence also covered an injuring charge Epiha admitted, involving a member of the public, who was hit by Epiha’s car as he fled the two officers.

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