Police probe Michael Laws' ex

BY NEIL REID
Last updated 05:00 17/10/2010
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Michael Laws and Leonie Brookhammer.
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Michael Laws

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Police are investigating published claims by radio host Michael Laws' former partner she punched him in the face on several occasions during their "toxic" relationship.

Leonie Brookhammer was quoted in a woman's magazine this week as saying on "five, maybe six occasions" she hit the Radio Live shock jock and outgoing Whanganui mayor during arguments between them.

"It was always the same pattern, we'd get into an argument and eventually I'd just hit him in the face with my fist," she said in the Woman's Day four-page article.

Acting Whanganui area commander Detective Inspector Chris Bensemann said police were aware of the printed comments.

"The comments along with information we already have will be assessed to see what they might mean," Bensemann told Sunday News.

"It is not appropriate to comment further until our assessment is made."

In the article, Brookhammer, who has three young children with Laws, claimed the couple's disputes had twice resulted in police being called out – once in 2003 and then again in January this year.

Brookhammer, 41, said she called the police in the most recent incident, following their final split.

She said Laws had stood in front of the gates of their Whanganui home to stop her driving away with their children.

Brookhammer said as he was "hanging off the windscreen wipers", she "told him to get out of the way or I would run him over".

"I inched closer and he fell to the ground," she said.

Brookhammer, an award-winning body-builder, told Woman's Day after each time she punched Laws, 53, she "couldn't believe what I'd done".

"I've never been a violent person and I've never hit anyone before in a relationship," she said.

Yesterday, Brookhammer said she had "no comment" to make on the matter before hanging up the phone.

Laws yesterday said: "I am not making any comment about any aspects of this matter. My... sole priority is the care and upbringing of my children."

His comments mirrored his quoted response in the Woman's Day article.

Laws and Brookhammer were first engaged in 2004, the year he became mayor.

They split early last year, before reuniting several months later. Laws revealed in a statement on October 19, 2009, they were once again engaged.

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"Since recommitting to our relationship, we have decided that getting married is the right thing to do," he said in the statement.

"Our seven children [between us] have been informed and given their blessing."

Following their final separation, Laws publicly supported Brookhammer, issuing a press release on August 4 welcoming her decision to stand for the Whanganui District Council.

"Leonie should not be judged upon her past relationship with myself but upon the skills and ability that she potentially brings to the council table. I wish her well," he said in the release.

In the magazine article, Brookhammer described her relationship with Laws as becoming "toxic".

"He had a dump button on his radio show when callers annoyed him, and he did the same to me," she said.

"When we argued... he'd say, `I'm not interested! I'm pressing the dump button!'."

Seven months before Brookhammer's feature article, she issued a press release saying she had "no wish to expose my private life to more media scrutiny".

Woman's Day editor Sarah Henry did not respond to calls from Sunday News.

- Sunday News

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