Man smirked as he told Corrections officer of beheading plan

Ruairi Taylor. Photo: ODT
Ruairi Taylor. Photo: ODT
A man who attacked a police officer with an axe said he planned to decapitate him and wave his head at other officers so they would shoot him.

It was one of the stunning revelations made by 25-year-old Ruairi Kern Taylor in an interview with a Corrections officer just weeks after the incident in September 2019.

The details of that discussion can now be revealed after the defendant was jailed for three years, three months before the High Court at Dunedin last month.

Taylor rammed Constable Steven Treloar’s patrol car after he saw it pulled over on State Highway1 near Allanton.

The officer’s head was smashed into his windscreen and the defendant shattered the rest of his windows with a tomahawk before chasing him down the road yelling "Allahu Akbar".

At the sentencing hearing, Const Treloar said he believed Taylor intended to kill him — and Taylor himself had agreed.

On September 26, 2019, after he had pleaded guilty to a range of charges, the defendant had been remanded to the Otago Corrections Facility to await sentencing.

A Corrections case manager was tasked with interviewing him to assess his risk and rehabilitation needs with a view to reintegration on release.

But the chilling disclosures Taylor made resulted in police laying a charge of attempted murder.

He targeted the police officer because he had been "super suicidal and unhappy", he said.

Taylor told the case officer that he did not believe his family would be surprised to learn of what he had done.

"I’ve been planning to kill someone for three to four months before I did it," he said.

"This was the first police officer I came across that was a good target."

The case manager, who gave evidence at a hearing in the High Court at Dunedin in July last year, attempted to have her interviewee rationalise his actions.

Why would he kill someone who had never wronged him?

"Because that’s something I could do that sits right for me ... that just works for me," Taylor said.

The case manager said his manner was unnerving.

"His facial expression would get very animated — smirking and smiling — his eyes were really wide. It was quite clear from that he was getting enjoyment from retelling his offending," she said.

That continued, the Corrections officer told the court, when Taylor was shown an Otago Daily Times story about his offending.

"He was almost smirking when he read the article," she said.

When the case manager told Taylor she might have to pass the information on to others, he expressed surprise at the level of charges against him.

‘‘It was definitely attempted murder,’’ he said.

‘‘I absolutely wanted to kill him.’’

At the conclusion of the interview, she filed a report with her manager and emailed others, including police.

The surprise disclosures were enough for Taylor to be charged with attempted murder.

He denied the charge, and at July’s pre-trial hearing, counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner argued her client’s comments should not be admitted as evidence.

A consent he signed at the interview’s outset did not permit the information to be shared as widely as it was, she said.

Added to that was the likelihood Taylor’s guard would have been lowered since he had already pleaded guilty to charges.

He could not have expected further charges to stem from the discussion, Ms Saunderson-Warner said.

Justice Gerald Nation, however, pointed out the Corrections interview was not set up with a view to obtaining evidence for a criminal prosecution.

The case manager, he said, made it clear Taylor’s comments may be shared with other agencies and he spoke freely regardless of that.

Justice Nation concluded that the supposed confession to attempted murder had not been improperly obtained and even if it had, he would have ruled the evidence admissible at trial.

Despite his ruling, shortly afterwards the Crown dropped the charge of attempted murder.

Taylor pleaded guilty to attempting to cause grievous bodily harm, intentional damage and assault with a weapon.

Because of the time he spent in custody awaiting resolution of the case, he will see the Parole Board this month.



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