Late bail news irks victim of firebomb

VICKI WATERHOUSE
Last updated 12:00 14/06/2012

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A key witness in the Nicholas Pike murder case is angry at police after he was not told the man who allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at his house had been released on bail.

Matthew Dempsey, 34, was a friend of Mr Pike, who went missing from the Desert Road in 2002. Mr Pike was last seen with Stephen Thomas Hudson, who was convicted of his murder in November 2009. Hudson was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 16 years.

Mr Dempsey was a Crown witness in the case against Hudson. He said the Molotov cocktail attack on his house in Bulls happened on the night of May 21.

Mr Dempsey said he had an altercation with the alleged attacker at a service station earlier that day but he did not know who he was. Mr Dempsey was not informed the man had been bailed until "three to four" days after he was released, police said. Senior Sergeant Nigel Allan, of Feilding, said it was not ideal.

"Certainly, there was a delay in us, of a few days, in finding out that the person had bail and passing that on to the victim," Mr Allan said.

"Clearly, we should have advised the victim of that bail at the earliest opportunity."

Mr Dempsey said the Molotov cocktail incident had terrified his partner, who had since moved out of the house because she feared for her safety. He felt police had an obligation to help them after he had testified at the Hudson trial and had been assured he would be protected.

"I absolutely feel so let down by the police."

Mr Dempsey said it was not the first time he had been intimidated, and he had moved house several times because of it. He said he might now have to move again.

Mr Dempsey said when the police contacted him to tell him the accused man had been released on bail, they did not tell him details of his bail conditions. But Mr Allan said Mr Dempsey was not willing to listen.

"In the conversation [the police officer] attempted to advise the victim of those conditions, and at the end of the day, he wouldn't listen to us."

Police had acted quickly on the night of the incident and arrested the alleged offender shortly after, Mr Allan said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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