NT News

Police seconds behind alleged murderer

- JASON WALLS

POLICE were following just seconds behind Ben Hoffmann in the minutes before he killed the second of four alleged murder victims when they made the call to “tactically disengage”, a court has heard.

Footage played in Hoffmann’s Supreme Court trial on Friday showed two police cars travelling about two seconds behind Hoffmann’s white HiLux on the afternoon of June 4, 2019.

The patrol cars are then seen stopping and reversing away back in the opposite direction before a series of loud gunshots ring out and are not seen in the footage again.

Prosecutor­s allege Hoffmann had just murdered Palms Motel caretaker Hassan Baydoun with a shotgun and minutes after the police ended the pursuit, 75-yearold Nigel Hellings was found shot dead on the floor of his Gardens Hill Cr unit.

Hoffmann would allegedly go on to murder two other men.

POLICE were following just seconds behind Ben Hoffmann in the minutes before he killed the second of four alleged murder victims when they made the call to “tactically disengage”, a court has heard.

Footage played in Hoffmann’s Supreme Court trial on Friday showed two police cars travelling about two seconds behind Hoffmann’s white HiLux on the afternoon of June 4, 2019.

The patrol cars are then seen stopping and reversing away back in the opposite direction before a series of loud gunshots ring out and are not seen in the footage again.

Prosecutor­s allege Hoffmann had just murdered Palms Motel caretaker Hassan Baydoun with a shotgun and minutes after the police ended the pursuit, 75-yearold Nigel Hellings was found shot dead on the floor of his Gardens Hill Cres.

Hoffmann would allegedly go on to murder two other men, 57-year-old Michael Sisois at the Buff Club and Rob Courtney, 52, in Jolly St, Woolner.

Sergeant Xavier McMahon was driving the first car solo with another lone police officer, Senior Constable Gregory Cleary, travelling in the vehicle behind him.

Sgt McMahon told the court he started to follow the HiLux at the intersecti­on with McMinn St but stopped the pursuit when the HiLux began to do a U-turn on Gardens Hill Cres.

“I radioed to the other vehicle that was behind me, the Darwin supervisor, Acting Sgt Cleary and directed him that we reverse out of that area,” he said.

The officers retreated to the end of the street and did not see the HiLux again.

Under cross examinatio­n from Hoffmann’s barrister Jon Tippett QC, Sgt McMahon said both officers were carrying their service Glocks at the time but were not wearing bulletproo­f vests.

Mr Tippett asked Sgt McMahon why he chose to disengage from the pursuit but Justice John Burns ruled it was irrelevant to the charges at hand.

Hoffmann has pleaded not guilty to all charges and his trial continues in Darwin on Monday.

 ?? ?? NT Police Sergeant Xavier McMahon leaves the Supreme Court after giving testimony.
NT Police Sergeant Xavier McMahon leaves the Supreme Court after giving testimony.

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