Australia

Witness tells of terror at Sydney gym as gunman shot Mick Hawi outside

A woman has told a Sydney court of her terror in watching a hooded gunman lean into Mick Hawi's black Mercedes and hearing multiple shots fired at the former bikies boss.

Stephanie Nicolau told the Supreme Court on Friday she ducked behind the reception counter of a Rockdale gym in fear of her life after seeing a man dressed in a black tracksuit lean into the driver's side window of Hawi's Mercedes, before hearing "about 12 shots".

Police forensic images of Mick Hawi's Mercedes, in which he was shot to death on Febraury 15, 2018.

Police forensic images of Mick Hawi's Mercedes, in which he was shot to death on Febraury 15, 2018.

"I heard a banging noise, it was repeated, bang, bang, bang," Ms Nicolau said. The shots continued while she hid, feeling small fragments of glass hit the back of her neck, she said.

Ms Nicolau told the court she didn't see the assailant's hands or a gun, but could tell from the bullet holes peppering the car that it was a shooting. It was only when she got up from behind the counter that she "first registered there was a person inside the car, as I saw skin and blood."

Recalling her terror that the shooter would come inside the gym as her manager shouted at her to call triple 0, Ms Nicolau, appearing via video link for the second time this week, began to cry while the call was played.

In the call, she described the shooter as about the same height as her – 166 centimetres – or shorter, and thin. She told the court her estimate could have been wrong as the man was leaning over.

As for what she saw of his face beneath a hoodie and mask: "honestly it could be anyone".

Bullet holes in the front window of Fitness First.

Bullet holes in the front window of Fitness First.Credit:NSW Police Forensic Services

Mr Hawi died in hospital that afternoon with multiple gunshot wounds to the head, an injury described as "unsurvivable" in agreed facts. The men on trial for his murder are Yusuf Nazlioglu, 38, and Jamal Eljaidi, 32.

Mr Nazlioglu is accused of being the gunman and Mr Eljaidi is accused of being the getaway driver, but both have pleaded not guilty.

The court heard this week there were two getaway cars.

The first, a grey Mercedes, was found ablaze in a nearby lane minutes after the shooting. Prosecutors allege the second vehicle was a silver Toyota Aurion found abandoned on Botany Road in Rosebery, containing DNA consistent with both men. They also allege a balaclava found on the floor of the Toyota contained DNA consistent with Mr Nazioglu.

On Friday the court heard the Toyota was left on Botany Road for panelbeater Abraham Stambouli, who owns nearby smash repair business East Coast Bodyworks. Mr Stambouli said his long-time client Moustafa Salaki asked him to fix the car so he could re-register and possibly sell it.

Mr Stambouli told the court the car was unlocked and he had a look for a set of keys inside, but didn't recall seeing a balaclava.

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He said he didn't recognise the car at the time, but agreed Mr Salaki had asked him to repair it previously, about a year earlier, when it had rear-end damage. Mr Stambouli said he never got around to the job and Mr Salaki had someone else fix it.

The court heard that after police officers spoke to Mr Stambouli about the car during their investigations into Mr Hawi's death, he called Mr Salaki to ask why police were interested.

Mr Stambouli agreed with Mr Nazioglu's defence barrister Avni Djemal that Mr Salaki told him "I sold it to these guys but they didn't want it, and they rang me up and told me to pick it up."

The trial continues.

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