Accused marked friend's death before attack

BLAIR ENSOR AND BEN HEATHER
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2013
Featherston homicide
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ

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

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People allegedly involved in the deadly group beating of a Featherston man were gathering to mark the anniversary of a friend's death.

Two men are on the run in connection with the brutal slaying of Glen Jones, 40, who died of head injuries suffered in a beating in his Featherston home shortly after midnight on Saturday morning.

They are Kristofer Jones, 23, and Hayden Ranson, 27, who police say are somewhere in the upper North Island.

Arrest warrants were issued for the pair yesterday, after three co-accused appeared in the Masterton District Court on charges of aggravated burglary.

They were charged with entering Mr Jones' home with a wooden bat and an axe handle.

Police are also speaking to three other people, but it is unknown whether they will be charged.

Kristofer Jones - one of those on the run - is a former partner of Aimee Wilson, who died after a car she was a passenger in crashed north of Masterton shortly before midnight on January 12, 2011. The couple had a child together.

It is understood a number of people charged in connection with Mr Jones' death were gathering to remember Ms Wilson, who was killed two years to the day before Mr Jones' beating.

A Masterton neighbour of one of the females accused said that she arrived home at about 9.30pm on Friday to find there was a gathering at a Solway address.

A white Holden Commodore which police have linked to the attack was parked in the driveway.

There was a large group of people "drinking and laughing" sitting in deck chairs at the back of property, the neighbour said.

The neighbour has since seen police officers visit the home and remove items in brown paper bags.

On Saturday morning, Kristofer Jones posted on Facebook that he was "still feeling a lil drunk from last night" and organised to meet friends involved in a memorial gathering at the car park of McDonald's in Masterton.

A year earlier a large convoy had gathered in Ms Wilson's memory before driving to the site of her death in Mikimiki Rd.

It is understood children who lived at the address are now staying with their grandmother down the street.

The grandmother said she was struggling to come to terms with the arrests and refused to comment further.

Detective Inspector Sean Hansen yesterday said despite sharing a surname, Kristofer Jones was not related to the victim.

Police were still working to determine any links between the victim and his alleged attackers.

Mr Hansen appealed to the public for information about a blue Mitsubishi Mirage, with the number plate OE7854, which the two men on the run are thought to be driving. Neither is believed to be armed, but the public is warned not to approach them.

More charges would probably follow in relation to Mr Jones' death, Mr Hansen said.

"We had a man killed in his home and there is all likelihood that further charges are likely."

Police have also recovered several objects linked to Mr Jones' death from a Lower Hutt industrial site.

Investigators are still looking for sightings of the white Holden Commodore linked to the death, which travelled through the Wairarapa, Hutt Valley and Wellington during the weekend.

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The three who appeared in court yesterday - two women aged 22 and 32 as well as a 28-year-old man - were remanded in custody until later this week. All three have name suppression.

- The Dominion Post

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