Veitch hospitalised after fears for his safety

01:43, Jan 31 2009
CONCERN FOR HIS SAFETY: Former TVNZ broadcaster Tony Veitch was hospitalised on Friday amid serious concerns for his health and safety.

Former sports broadcaster Tony Veitch is reportedly being closely monitored by family members amid concerns for his health and safety.

The 34-year-old, who is accused of assaulting his former partner, was rushed to Auckland Hospital on Friday after apparently disappearing from his Auckland home and being found in a remote area of Northland following a frantic search a few hours later.

He spent the night in hospital and was understood to have been discharged yesterday.

Veitch has been under immense pressure since allegations that he attacked his Kristin Dunne-Powell emerged in July.

His spokeswoman Glenda Hughes said last night Veitch was being supported by family in a very "difficult, stressful time".

"Situations like this take a major toll on human beings. At this stage we are very concerned for Tony's health and wellbeing," she told The Herald on Sunday.

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Veitch, who has resigned from his sports presenting jobs with TVNZ and Radio Sport, faces six charges of assaulting Ms Dunne-Powell and one of injuring her with reckless disregard.

He has said he will "vigorously defend" the charges.

An ambulance service spokesman confirmed police advised them a helicopter was on the scene at 4.12pm on Friday, and was flying a victim to Auckland Hospital's emergency department.

An ambulance crew was sent from nearby Bream Bay but was apparently called off before reaching the area. There was no record of the ambulance service sending a helicopter, so it was presumed to be a police chopper.

A police source yesterday confirmed Veitch, 34, was located through a GPS search on his cellphone, and that officers "got there just in time".

A local farmer told Sunday News he was moving cattle when he noticed a group of officers in a bush area at the end of his street.

"I was just going about my business, then I saw all the commotion and thought, `Hello, something is going on here'," David Blundell told Sunday News.

"The guy they were dealing with ... had dark hair and looked very skinny.

"He looked very distressed. This man did not look very good at all. I thought they had caught someone who had been growing some wacky backy.

"They spent about an hour with him then they put him in the helicopter and flew off.

"The black car next to him was taken away and the officers were wrapping something in plastic which they also took."

Shown a photograph of Veitch by a Sunday News photographer, Blundell confirmed him as the man put into the helicopter.

Veitch's father, Graham Veitch, was yesterday holidaying in Vanuatu. He declined to comment other than to say he was returning to New Zealand later this week.

But a source close to Veitch last night told Sunday News of the anger felt by the former broadcaster's family.

"There is a lot of frustration ... that's an understatement," the source said.

"I hope ... the people who have put Tony in this position are happy."

Sources close to the former TVNZ and Radio Sport host said he had been under intense pressure since being arrested a fortnight ago and charged with seven violence offences against his former partner Kristin Dunne-Powell charges he said he would vigorously defend.

After the allegations he had assaulted Dunne-Powell first emerged in July, Veitch told a tabloid newspaper he could not see "any light at the end of a very dark tunnel".

"If I could escape this world at the moment I would. Trust me, I would," Veitch said.

"It has been an hour-by-hour survival proposition ... I'm struggling ... it's the darkest period I think I've ever had."

The following month Halford, 27 who Veitch proposed to while on holiday in the Australian beachside resort of Byron Bay last year said in a newspaper interview her husband had lost weight, had not been sleeping and his hair was falling out.

But Halford added Veitch was determined to get through the stresses.

"The one thing that has been good out of all this is that Tony and I have never been stronger.

"We are so strong and even more in love. I just need to remind him sometimes that he is a good person."

PATH TO DESPAIR

SEPTEMBER 5: Tony Veitch is airlifted to hospital.

AUGUST 18: Veitch is arrested and charged with six counts of assault and one of injuring with reckless disregard. He appears in the Auckland District Court and is remanded on bail until September 29.

AUGUST 15: Police officers search Veitch's home in the Auckland suburb of Herne Bay.

JULY 17: Kristin Dunne-Powell makes a formal complaint to police. Veitch announces his resignation from TVNZ and Radio Sport.

JULY 10: Police announce an investigation into the alleged assault.

JULY 9: Veitch makes a statement, admitting he lashed out at Dunne-Powell shortly after the pair split in 2006 and that he had "no excuses" for his actions.

JULY 8: Veitch stands down from his Radio Sport breakfast show and from presenting the sports for One News.

JULY 7: The Dominion Post reveals Veitch allegedly assaulted his former partner Dunne-Powell in 2006, breaking her back in four places and later paying $150,000 for her silence.

 - Sunday News and NZPA