Former All Black knocked by King's death

BEST MATE: Former All Black Bernie Fraser has flown into Wellington from Perth to help his mate Greg King's family through a difficult week.
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
BEST MATE: Former All Black Bernie Fraser has flown into Wellington from Perth to help his mate Greg King's family through a difficult week.

Former All Black Bernie Fraser has flown into Wellington from Perth to help his mate Greg King's family through a difficult week.

The pair met more than a decade ago, and a friendship developed that saw Fraser become godfather to King's elder daughter, Pippa, now 5.

"That was 3000 hangovers ago," Fraser said of their first meeting.

SUCCESSFUL DEFENCE: Greg King sums up in the trial of his client Ewen Macdonald who was acquitted in the High Court at Wellington.
CRAIG SIMCOX/ Fairfax NZ
SUCCESSFUL DEFENCE: Greg King sums up in the trial of his client Ewen Macdonald who was acquitted in the High Court at Wellington.

He was phoned at his home in Perth on Saturday by King's wife, Catherine Milnes-King, to tell him of her husband's sudden death.

"It was a short conversation. It knocked me," Fraser said.

"There have only ever been three guys in my life, apart from my family, who I told I loved. Greg was one of them."

Afterwards he repeatedly played King's favourite song - Jimmy Barnes' Flame Trees - on his iPod, while drinking toasts to his friend. "Greg loved Jimmy Barnes.

"On Saturday I spent the day toasting Greg. It was a one-man show in his honour. I woke up on Sunday morning and thought, OK I need to get home."

He last spoke to King about 10 days ago.

"I told him he was a special man and I loved him. You meet people along the way - him and Catherine, they were a fantastic couple."

He described King as a man who was always in control, which made him an ideal criminal lawyer.

"One night we were round there and the younger daughter Millie collapsed on the floor. She stopped breathing.

"Greg took control. He gave her CPR while Catherine called the ambulance. He brought her round while I was running round in circles."

Fraser said he was aware his mate was not well when he visited him in July.

"He liked a red or two, but he'd slowed down a lot. Health issues had started to bite him. I knew he was not well."

Fraser's daughter, Australian-based singer Brooke Fraser, has postponed a gig in the United States to attend Friday's funeral service at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul in Thorndon.

Wellington District Court's main courtroom stood for a moment's silence yesterday morning for King, whose body was found on Saturday beside his car in Dungarvan Rd, Newlands.

Judge Tom Broadmore said his death was a grievous blow to the legal profession and the community.

King's death is a suspected suicide and has been referred to the coroner.

The Dominion Post