Derek Round's family relieved at murder arrest

Last updated 14:39 22/05/2012
Derek Round
DISTINGUISHED JOURNALIST: In 2010, Derek Round was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to journalism.

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A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of journalist Derek Round.

Michael Umanui Werahiko, 31, of no fixed abode, appeared in the Whanganui District Court briefly this afternoon. He stood silently in the dock wearing a red-and-black checked shirt.

He is charged with murdering Round sometime between May 16 and May 17.

Round, 77, was found dead in the living room of his Campbell St home on Thursday morning.

The judge remanded Werahiko in custody without plea until June 6.

The Round family says it is a "huge relief" that police have charged a man with his murder.

Police believe he died on Wednesday evening after suffering a "number of violent blows to the head".

A Round family spokesman said news of the arrest was a huge relief.

"We are grateful to the police for their efforts and to those who have assisted police with their inquiries.

"We are still in shock but with the help of family, friends and police are continuing to deal with things ones step at a time."

Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Kirby of Whanganui CIB said this morning's development was a significant step but the inquiry into Derek Round's death was continuing.

"We have yet to locate the missing clothing and we still want to know more about the movements of Derek's blue Jaguar between last Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

Police have been searching for a red long-sleeved jersey or sweatshirt, a black, leather, sleeveless vest, dark-coloured stonewashed jeans, dark, fingerless gloves, and a pair of dark-coloured sports shoes with white around the soles and coloured laces.

"Work is also ongoing to establish whether more than one person was involved in Derek's death.

"Today's development is the result of a big effort by the investigation team and I would like to thank the public and media who have assisted us.

"However we still need your help and the team remains focussed on the missing bits of the puzzle and finding answers for Derek's grieving family."

Round, 77, was in 2010 made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to journalism.

Whanganui Mayor Annette Main said the community was shocked by the murder.

"We have all been shocked by this murder and justifiably concerned about the presence in our community of the person capable of such a vicious attack."

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