Snr Cst Leeding was shot while responding to an armed hold-up call at the Pacific Pines Tavern on May, 29, 2011. His life support was turned off two days later.
Snr Cst Leeding was shot while responding to an armed hold-up call at the Pacific Pines Tavern on May, 29, 2011. His life support was turned off two days later. Contributed

Alleged Leeding gunman promised to shoot his way out

THE gunman who allegedly shot a police officer at a Gold Coast tavern threatened the establishment's employees he would take them hostage if they called police.

Phillip Graeme Abell also allegedly told Pacific Pines Tavern duty manager Kelly McLaren if he had to shoot his way out he would.

Mr Abell and Donna Lee McAvoy are on trial in Brisbane Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to murdering Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding.

Snr Cst Leeding was shot while responding to an armed hold-up call at the Pacific Pines Tavern on May, 29, 2011. His life support was turned off two days later.

Mr Abell and Ms McAvoy have each pleaded guilty to armed robbery and seven counts of deprivation of liberty.

Benjamin Skene was working as a security guard at the tavern on May 29, 2011, when a female, dressed head-to-toe in black, approached him and demanded his radio.

Mr Skene, now a police officer, told the court on Tuesday10/9 he thought it was a joke until he saw another person holding a gun come towards him.

He said the gunman yelled at him "don't try anything you lanky f**ker, I'll shoot you".

"At that point he brought the gun up to my head," Mr Skene said.

Mr Skene said he was pushed to the floor with another patron and two employees and his hands were bound with zip-ties.

After the gunman led him and the others into another part of the tavern, Mr Skene claimed the gunman said: "if you call the police you will be the ones I use as hostages".

Mr Skene said he later heard two gunshots, the first of which was the loudest and sounded like a shotgun.

Ms McAvoy's defence barrister Michael Byrne focused on Mr Skene's knowledge of firearms, which Mr Skene said he gained through an armed security guard course.

Although Mr Skene was trained in firearms, when he first saw the gunman's weapon he thought it was not real, Mr Byrne said.

"My first impression was it wasn't a real gun," Mr Skene confirmed.

Mr Skene said the gun looked old and he had only ever dealt with new guns.

The trial continues.



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