Arrest following woman's suspicious death

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 15:37 09/02/2013
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

A policeman guards the scene after a female was found dead in the room of a Tyne St address at 10am today. The Haven Lodge is to the left and the St Mary's Basillica is to the right.

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Police have launched a homicide investigation into the death of a 38 year old woman whose body was found at an Invercargill address at 10am today.

The victim was located in her room at the Haven accommodation hostel in Tyne Street, Invercargill.

Invercargill area tactical response manager Inspector Olaf Jensen said a 30-year-old man was taken into custody at 2pm and was being spoken to police in connection with the homicide.

The man was known to the victim but police were still establishing what the relationship between the pair was, Mr Jensen said.

The homicide scene is cordoned off and is under police guard awaiting forensic examination which will take place tomorrow, Sunday.

When The Southland Times visited the site this afternoon police had cordoned off a section of lawn at the Haven accommodation hostel, which is beside the St Mary's Basillica Church on Tyne St. A cone was placed in the middle of the lawn. Police were seen leaving the lodge soon after midday today.

Inspector Jensen declined to comment on specifics of the woman's death, including how she died and what time she died.

Police were this afternoon contacting her family and it was unknown when her name would be released to the public, Mr Jensen said.

The woman, from Invercargill, was a tenant at the boarding house where she died, he said.

Many police cars were this afternoon seen driving around south Invercargill, with Mr Jensen confirming they had been trying to locate the 30-year-old suspect. Police had visited several addresses in south Invercargill before the man, who was aware police were looking for him, made contact with them at 2pm.

The man has been speaking with police during the afternoon, Mr Jensen said.
''If he is charged we will update the media ... probably tomorrow,''.

Father Chris O'Neill, parish priest of St Mary's Basillica, which is next to the scene, said he was not aware of any death until approached by a Times' reporter at 1.15pm.

The Haven landlord Robyn Hogan this afternoon declined to comment.

The Haven boarding house, in March last year, was declared unsafe by the Invercargill City Council because of a high degree of fire risk.

Only 13 students were allowed to live at the boarding house but more than 30 tenants had been there at the time it was closed. It is understood work has been ongoing at the boarding house but it is unclear if it had fully reopened.

Mr Jensen said the investigation into the woman's death was still in its early stages.

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- The Southland Times

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