Father concerned by substance use

17:43, Dec 19 2012

The father of a woman killed in a single-car crash near Tokoroa says he was concerned about her abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Family and friends gathered in Whakamaru, south of Tokoroa, yesterday to mourn Lisa Crowley, 23, her partner, Richard Melling, 37, and children Jordan Melling, 11, Brody Crowley, 2, and a 3-week-old baby, who died when their van crashed into pine trees barely six kilometres from their home.

Ms Crowley's father, David Crowley, told 3News that she was "involved with drugs and alcohol".

Mr Melling's aunt, Donna Northcott, said the couple were loving parents, but had their faults.

"Richard was a lovely boy . . . he was a bit of a ratbag, but underneath he had a heart of gold," she said. "He loved his children. Lisa was the lady of his life."

Police are still working through the crash investigation but it is thought the family crashed some time between Sunday and 1pm Tuesday.


The wreckage was discovered barely an hour after two Indian tourists were killed at Atiamuri, about 35km south of Tokoroa on State Highway 1. They were yesterday named as father and son, Dilip Kataruka, 56, and Madhav Kataruka, 19, of Jharkhand in East India.

Best friends of Mr Melling and Ms Crowley, neighbours Anna and Wayne Arthur, said yesterday their "world had been torn apart" by the fatal crash. "I still can't believe it," Mrs Arthur said.

"I'm expecting them to come through that door and tell me everything is OK." Mr Melling and Ms Crowley had a boy three weeks ago - their second child together.

"They told us they were planning to call him Dylan and they were so damn happy."

Taupo District councillor Kirsty Trueman saw the couple at a community fun day at Mangakino recently. "Lisa was expecting her new baby the following day, and all the family were very excited."

They had not yet named the baby.

"It is tragic, totally tragic, that they did not get the chance to name their new son."


Fairfax Media