Man admits ramming police car, axe attack

A man has admitted ramming a police car and chasing an officer down the highway on foot with a tomahawk while yelling "Allahu Akbar".

After giving up the pursuit, Ruairi Kern Taylor (24), of Gore, returned to the empty police car, took to it with the weapon - causing more than $30,000 of damage - and was later found wearing a police hat and jacket while yelling excerpts from the Koran.

The man appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a weapon and one of intentional damage.

He was remanded in custody and Judge Kevin Phillips said Taylor was facing an inevitable prison term at sentencing in December.

The court heard the defendant quit his job in Tapanui on the afternoon of September 4 when the unusual behaviour began.

First, Taylor went to a hardware store in Gore and bought a tomahawk, then went to his home nearby to retrieve a sheathed dive knife which he strapped to his leg.

He set off north in his Subaru Forester and when he saw a police patrol car, he U-turned to follow it.

Police say the man crashed his car into a patrol vehicle, then approached an officer in a...
Police say the man crashed his car into a patrol vehicle, then approached an officer in a threatening manner. Photo: Gregor Richardson
The officer turned into the local station and Taylor drove off.

Several hours later, Constable Steven Treloar had pulled a motorist over for a routine check on State Highway1 in Allanton.

When Taylor saw the blue and red lights in the distance, he turned up the "religious music" playing on his stereo and slammed his vehicle into the back of the stationary police car.

Const Treloar's head snapped back and rebounded into the windscreen as he was shunted into the vehicle he had pulled over.

Within seconds, Taylor had smashed his window with the axe.

The officer called for back-up before climbing over the central console and escaping from the passenger door.

As Const Treloar ran off, Taylor pursued him "with the tomahawk raised about his head for approximately 40 metres before giving up".

"Throughout the attack the defendant was yelling `Allahu Akbar'," a police summary said.

Const Treloar was whisked away from the scene by a member of the public while Taylor returned to the abandoned police car.

He smashed both headlights and two side windows and made various holes and dents in the car, causing $31,7420 of damage.

The defendant, the court heard, then rummaged around in the car, donned police garments and began yelling religious passages.

He was arrested without incident, police said.

While Taylor told officers he was not a practising Muslim, the imam at Mataura Masjid Islamic Centre, Zamberi Mat Yunus, said the defendant had attended prayer two or three times.

He believed Taylor had recently moved from the North Island and was disappointed to hear about the violent incident.

After being arrested, the defendant told police he had wanted them to shoot him.

"He stated he wasn't trying to injure the victim and that if he wanted to he could have," the summary said.

Taylor had no previous convictions.