Māmā tries to resuscitate dying son after gun fight

By Contributor

Mitchell Mosen, 30, died as a result of a gunshot wound to his chest. Photo / Supplied

By Tara Shaskey, Open Justice multimedia journalist, Taranaki

After being shot in the chest by a semi-automatic, Patricia Mosen's youngest child lay dying before her.

Mitchell Mosen's breathing was laboured, he was cold and clammy and as he started to lose consciousness she began work to keep her son alive.

Patricia, a nurse of 43 years, said it felt like she performed CPR "forever", but estimates it would have actually been for around 20 minutes.

"I just wanted to save his life," she said in evidence on Tuesday at the retrial of the man accused of murdering her son.

Tragically, Mosen died soon after with his mother, now a key witness to his death, at his side.

The 30-year-old was shot by his neighbour, Lachlan Johnson, on August 22, 2020, after an altercation between the Taranaki pair.

Lachlan Johnson, of Taranaki, appeared in the High Court at New Plymouth on a charge of murder. Photo / Tara Shaskey

Lachlan Johnson, of Taranaki, appeared in the High Court at New Plymouth on a charge of murder. Photo / Tara Shaskey

The defence accepts Johnson, 57, killed Mosen but argues it was not intentional and only amounts to manslaughter.

But the Crown alleges the death was a calculated murder.

The retrial in the High Court at New Plymouth began on Monday with defence and prosecution's opening statements and a short appearance from Patricia in the witness box.

She was part way through giving evidence when defence requested an early adjournment because of Johnson's longstanding back and shoulder problems.

It was expected Patricia would return to the witness box at the beginning of day two but Justice Helen Cull released the jury until the afternoon, telling them she needed time to resolve an issue raised by counsel.

When the trial resumed, Patricia's evidence continued.

It's been nearly two years since her son died on the front porch of her Korito Rd property, about 20 kilometres from New Plymouth, but she can still recall the moment in detail.

Johnson, who also lived on Korito Rd, had arrived at her house, saying he was there to "slow" Mosen down, she said in evidence.

He pushed past her and entered her home. She heard a "click click" and saw he was holding a shotgun.

She watched a struggle between Johnson and Mosen and says six shots were fired within one minute.

"Bang, bang, bang, bang," she recalled.

One bullet struck Mosen's foot, another was the fatal wound to the left side of his chest, while the other four shots hit the porch.

Mosen fell to the ground and began calling for help.

Patricia said he was in pain, rolling around and trying to get comfortable.

Initially, she was only aware of his foot wound.

Grabbing her cellphone, she attempted to call an ambulance but Johnson tried to take the phone from her, she told the court.

Patricia "screamed" at Johnson and he then backed off and left, saying "I've only shot him in the foot. You're a nurse, you fix it."

But it wasn't long before she discovered her son's chest wound, and he died shortly after.

Mosen was battling brain cancer at the time of his death and had been living with Patricia, who had been caring for him.

His personality had been affected by the disease, leaving him frustrated, agitated and quick to become aggressive over trivial matters.

An example of that was Mosen allegedly assaulting Johnson for lighting and releasing paper lanterns in the area.

The Crown alleges that this altercation had angered Johnson so much that he killed Mosen in retaliation.

In his cross-examination, defence lawyer Paul Keegan said a health professional had noted Mosen was suffering paranoid delusions before his death.

The medical notes Keegan referenced also highlighted Mosen had been using alcohol and cannabis on a near daily basis.

Patricia had told police that her son "usually yells and screams and can knock holes in the walls".

She had also told police that he was controlling, insecure and attached to her as he had become "awfully lonely".

But in evidence, she said she was not afraid of her son.

The trial is set down for two weeks.