Woman charged with driving getaway car for alleged murderer loses name suppression

Author
Anna Leask, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jul 2020, 4:10PM
Natalie Jane Bracken at her first appearance in the Waitakere District Court on charges relating to the alleged murder of Constable Matthew Hunt. Photo / Peter Meecham
Natalie Jane Bracken at her first appearance in the Waitakere District Court on charges relating to the alleged murder of Constable Matthew Hunt. Photo / Peter Meecham

Woman charged with driving getaway car for alleged murderer loses name suppression

Author
Anna Leask, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jul 2020, 4:10PM

The woman who allegedly drove the getaway car for the man accused of gunning down Constable Matthew Hunt in West Auckland last month can now be named.

She is Natalie Jane Bracken.

Earlier today she lost a bid for name suppression, meaning the Herald can now publish her details and image.

Hunt, 28, was allegedly murdered during a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive in Massey on June 19.

A 24-year-old man is charged with murdering Hunt, attempting to murder another police officer and wounding a member of the public when he crashed his vehicle trying to evade the patrol car.

Bracken is charged with being an accessory after the fact of Hunt's murder, assisting the accused killer by obtaining a car and driving him away from the scene.

Both have pleaded not guilty to their respective charges.

The man was granted interim name at his first appearance in the Waitakere District Court on June 20.

He is seeking to extend that suppression and a hearing will be held on July 31 to hear the defence application.

That suppression is being opposed by the Herald.

Bracken was refused name suppression at her first appearance in the Waitakere District Court on June 22.

Her name and photograph had been released by police the day after Hunt was killed while they were still trying to locate her.

District Court Judge Brandt Shortland refused to grant suppression - despite claims she received a "barrage of threats" and was in danger.

Judge Shortland noted that her identity was "all over social media" after police released her name and photograph while they were trying to locate her.

"Your name's been out there ... The reality is it's all over social media," he said.

"Like feathers in the wind, it's very difficult to put all those back."

Bracken's lawyer Marie Taylor-Cyphers then indicated the decision would be appealed, meaning the suppression remained in place until she could argue her case in the High Court.

After hearing the appeal today Justice Venning also refused name suppression.

The details of the hearing, including the defence submissions, are suppressed.

Bracken was not in court for the hearing so Justice Venning delayed the release of her name so her legal team could take instruction on whether to appeal the matter further.

They later advised the court that Bracken would not advance a second appeal.

Justice Venning allowed her name to be published after 4pm.

Hunt, whose lifelong dream was to be a police officer, was farewelled at a funeral at Eden Park on July 9.

The other officer injured in the shooting spent several days in hospital but is now recovering at home.

He will remain off work for some time.

His name is suppressed, as is the name of the civilian who was injured.