Mystery Hendry murder suspect talks

19:05, Jun 13 2014
Terence Charles Hendry
NEVER FOUND: Terence Charles Hendry with his orange Datsun.

About 4.30pm on a cold June afternoon in 1991, Terence Charles Hendry left his parents' Woolston home.

He was driving an orange Datsun 120Y, hand painted with no front passenger seat. It never made it to his destination - a post office about 2 kilometres away.

His disappearance remains a mystery. Twenty three years have passed and no-one has been able to determine just what happened to Hendry.

Joseph Harry John Annan
DENIES WRONGDOING: Joseph Harry John Annan.

His family, however, have a theory. Six weeks ago, a coroner's court heard that the 32-year-old's grieving family and friends believed Joseph Harry John Annan killed him and then disposed of his distinctive orange car at a wrecking yard.

This week, a suppression order prohibiting the publication of Annan's name lapsed. He can now be named but emphatically denies any wrong doing.

"It's a dramatic load of rubbish," Annan told The Press from his home in Kaikoura.


"It [the suggestion he killed Hendry] is the most stupid thing I could ever imagine. When the [detective] sergeant put it on me I laughed my arse off."

Annan, 74, and other members of his family were interviewed by police last year in connection with Hendry's disappearance.

His estranged wife, Phillipa Annan, also told The Press: "I was with my husband basically 24/7. He didn't kill him."

Hendry set off with no cash and limited fuel in his car on that afternoon in 1991.

The 32-year-old, who suffered from a mental illness left behind his medication, all of his possessions, including a passport.

Hendry could have been murdered, committed suicide or died accidentally, investigators said.

In April, the inquest was told family and friends believed Hendry had been annoying his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Looij, and Annan, her father, had killed him. Giving evidence, Detective Sergeant Al Lester said a family member phoned Annan to question him about Hendry's disappearance and received an abusive response.

Hendry's late father, John, also visited a wrecking yard where Annan worked to look for parts of his son's car but was refused entry, Lester told the court.

Hendry's family had little evidence to support their claims.

"One of those reasons was based on an alleged statement by [the man] on 30 April 1992 to John Hendry that Terence had been bothering his daughter, that Terence's behaviour had gotten out of hand and something had to be done."

After publicity about the case last year, Annan walked into the Kaikoura Police Station "in a very excited state . . . and repeated over and over again that the police shouldn't be opening this case - it wasn't a murder, it was a suicide - and that was the end of it", Lester told the inquest.

At the time, police had never spoken to Annan about Hendry's disappearance.

Investigators questioned Annan and other members of his family in Kaikoura a week later.

Annan told The Press this week that the suggestion he killed Hendry and then disposed of his car at a wrecking yard was "absolutely bloody ridiculous".

"The Hendry thing never happened so I've got nothing to worry about. I don't have to tell lies because there are no lies to tell."

Hendry met his daughter, Patricia, in about 1975 and became besotted with her. He had bought an engagement ring and planned to marry her before their relationship ended four years later.

At the time of his disappearance more than a decade later, Hendry was upset after finding out Patricia was married and most likely committed suicide by driving off a cliff somewhere between Christchurch and the West Coast, Annan said.

Hendry had not been pestering his daughter, he said. However, he had turned up unannounced at her home a week before he went missing and was unhappy when he left.

When questioned by police Annan said he was there at the time, which contradicted his daughter's version of events.

Annan told The Press: "When you are talking about something that's 20 plus years [ago] . . . it was a misunderstanding. She [his daughter] told me that he'd arrived around there - he arrived around our place too - and somehow I got this fixation on my mind that I was there."

Annan said he had never been contacted or approached by Hendry's family in relation to his disappearance. They may have spoken to other members of his family thinking it was him.

There was every possibility his father came to the wrecking yard but Annan said it wasn't him who spoke to him.

"The sister was apparently supposed to have rung me - no such thing. Who did she ring? Did she ring the yard or did she ring my home?"

He also disputed Lester's version of events that unfolded at Kaikoura police station last year.

"I have a gun licence so I went down there [to the police station] to tell them I'd changed my address . . . then they'd have to come and see it [the gun] where it's locked up in the property.

"While I was there that [article] of Hendry was in the local rag . . . and I said ‘while I'm here, you're wasting your time, he's done himself in'."

Annan said he grew up in Christchurch. He co-owned a wrecking yard with his brother and spent more than 50 years racing stockcars and motorcycles. The only blemishes on his record were traffic offences, he said.

He said he had wanted to provide evidence to the inquest but his lawyer advised against it.

In 2010, Lester reviewed the case after it emerged that police had failed to report Hendry's disappearance and presumed death to the coroner.

Police inquiries revealed that Hendry had mental health issues and a long-time obsession with his ex-girlfriend.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lester on (03) 363 7400, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

The Press