Police beg for clues in Waihi stabbing case

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 07/01/2013

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Police have few leads in the stabbing of an expat Kiwi at Waihi Beach and are relying on the public for a breakthrough.

A property owner, of Hamilton, who lives near the crime scene said police searched several properties, including his bach in Waihi Beach Rd, for evidence yesterday. They pored over the home, searching the roof, gutters and scanning the hedge with a metal detector.

The homicide investigation has marred the holiday resort's image of surf, sand and sun since expatriate New Zealander Robert Murray Wilkinson, 64, died in hospital from stab wounds inflicted to his head and neck in the early hours of New Year's Day.

On Saturday, the Operation Brad team made a plea for the member of the public who handed a knife in to a security guard at the scene on Thursday to come forward. Yesterday afternoon, that person went to the police, allowing investigators to explore what detail that aspect may hold.

The man whose bach was searched said police told him they did not know who had done it.

"They said: look, we're really struggling to find who's responsible.

"We need someone from the public to come to us to say such and such may have done it and they'll take it from there. They said their biggest lead will be coming from the public."

He said part of Waihi Beach Rd was closed for about three hours from 9.30pm on Saturday night as part of the investigation.

"They got the power company to switch all the power off in the streets, so it was really dark.

"I think they had infrared lights looking for blood splatters."

The man said he and his wife were shocked and stunned at the attack, and their friends felt the same.

"Our kids are really young and we'll be here forever, but there's that doubt in your mind now and there's a worry there."

The man was sure the perpetrator was from out of town.

He and his wife were awake when the attack occurred five doors down the street just after 1am but they heard nothing, just fireworks, yells and screams of "Happy New Year".

A few doors down at the Seascape holiday unit, Clodagh Kendal said she could not be sure whether the offender was local or an outsider.

She feared the case could drag on like the Jordan Voudouris investigation in nearby Paeroa.

Mr Voudouris was killed behind his Mykonos Pizza shop last year and the killer remains at large. "All I know is that it's made me nervous," she said.

"A few comments I heard this morning were: are they going to catch him? I could just come to my door and get attacked.

"That's virtually what happened to that man in the caravan.

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"If it's unsolved you don't feel safe."

She suspected the offender was on drugs, which was "scary".

"It's a quiet family place here and then something like that happens. It gives you a jolt. It's something you think might happen in a place like Auckland."

The Operation Brad team can be contacted at the Waihi and Waihi Beach police stations, by ringing 0800 OP BRAD (0800 672 723) or via email at Thames@police.govt.nz. Alternatively, information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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