'Very gentle man' beaten by up to 5 people

SHANE COWLISHAW AND BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 14:00 13/01/2013
Featherston homicide
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ

CRIME SCENE: Forensic specialists at work at the Featherston units where a man was viciously beaten yesterday. He later died.

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Up to five people could have been involved in the attack on a "very gentle" Featherston man who died after a vicious beating likely delivered by people he knew.

Glen Jones, 40, died about 5am yesterday after being transported to Wellington Hospital.

Jones was found bloody and unconscious by a neighbour who had heard a commotion coming from his Fitzherbert St unit shortly after midnight.

This morning police said it was likely arrests would be made in connection with the case today. 

"We're following a number of promising leads," a spokesman said.

He confirmed up to five people could have been involved in the beating. Witnesses reported seeing one of the alleged attackers carrying a softball bat outside Jones' property.

An autopsy, held at 8.30am today, would likely confirm whether a bat was used in the attack, the spokesman said.

A specialist police search team has today scoured an area between where Jones' body was found and a second cordoned area on Revans St where it is understood "items of interest" were found.

A resident said a car was seen parked in the cordoned area around the time of the attack.

Members of the team were seen picking up empty cans of bourbon and Red Bull and putting them into evidence bags before removing the cordon. Only Jones' home now remains off limits.

People at the home of Jones' parents, Dave and Sue, declined to comment.

Jones' ex-partner, Lisha Wellington, yesterday arrived tearfully at the cordoned-off scene and could not believe what had happened.

The pair had been together for about three years and both were keen pool players, often heading down to the pub and teaming up.

"He was a very innocent man, he wouldn't harm anyone, a gentle man, a very, very gentle man."

Part of a well-known Wairarapa family, Jones - commonly known as "Jonesy" - worked at the local 4 Square supermarket and had spent his entire life in the town.

Several upset and angry locals approached the Sunday Star-Times to express their disbelief that anyone would have wanted to harm him.

A neighbour said he was a peaceful guy who never caused any trouble.

"It's put a major dampener on the day. We're going to a wedding this afternoon and most people will know him there."

Dozens of past and present Featherston residents also took to the town's Facebook page to express both their condolences to Jones' family, as well as their outrage at the crime.

South Wairarapa district councillor Solitaire Robertson, who lives in Featherston, said it was a traumatic time for the town but was confident it would pull together.

"We're a really resilient community, there's a lot of good people here and something like this shocks us to the core."

Detective Inspector Sean Hansen described the beating as "vicious", causing multiple injuries.

"At this stage we do not believe this was a random attack and we also know there was more than one person involved," he said.

A second property of interest on Revens St had also been secured and Hansen expected the Fitzherbert St scene examination to take several days.

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There was nothing to indicate Featherston residents had to fear further attacks, he said.

Eighteen police staff were working on the case.

Anyone with information, especially regarding any suspicious activity at the southern end of Featherston around the time of the attack, is asked to contact police.

- Sunday Star Times

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