Murder accused 'never had a father figure'

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2012
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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The man accused of bashing journalist Derek Round to death was raised by his mother and never had a father figure in his life, family say.

Michael Umanui Werahiko, 31, is charged with the murder of the 77-year-old veteran reporter, found dead in his Campbell St, Whanganui, home on Thursday last week.

Werahiko was remanded in custody without plea when he appeared in Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

His aunty, Luana Butler, told The Dominion Post last night her nephew, who has at least three children, was raised in Rotorua and never had a father figure in his life.

His mother, Gemma Werahiko, who lived in Christchurch, was struggling to come to grips with news of her son's arrest.

Mrs Butler believed her nephew was a "good person, but he has some issues".

Family were shocked to hear he had been charged with murder. "Everyone is quite devastated about it [the arrest], but in saying that if he's done the crime then he's got to do the time."

Earlier this week it was revealed that Mr Round met Werahiko regularly in the months before he was killed.

The journalist's distinctive blue Jaguar was often seen outside his alleged killer's home in Broughton St, Whanganui.

Police have appealed for sightings of the car between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning last week.

They have also 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.

Police believe the clothing belonged to the killer or killers.

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- The Dominion Post

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