Date set for former councillor's murder hearing

Last updated 09:23 31/10/2012
MURDER CHARGE: Peter Beckett.
MURDER CHARGE: Peter Beckett.

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A former Napier city councillor charged with murdering his wife will face a preliminary hearing in May.

Peter Beckett, in his mid-50s, is accused of murdering Laura Letts-Beckett, 50, on August 18, 2010 in Canada.

Police were called to Shelter Bay Provincial Park, in British Columbia, after a report she had fallen out of a small inflatable fishing boat.

The case was initially treated as an accident.

It was reported that Beckett had brought her body to shore. At the time, police said she could not swim and was not wearing a lifejacket.

But in August last year Beckett was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of his wife.

He appeared in Salmon Arm Court, British Columbia  this morning and had a preliminary hearing date set for May 21.

The trial would determine whether there was enough evidence to proceed to a full jury trial, a court representative said.

Beckett served on Napier City Council between 1998 and 2001.

Former councillor John Harrison said Beckett had appeared out of nowhere to gain a seat on council in 1998, and disappeared just as quickly three years later.

"It's quite a shock, I think, to hear that someone who sat around the table with you could well be a murderer."

Beckett was working as a school bus driver at the time of his arrest.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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