Featherston beating victim 'wouldn't hurt a fly'

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 15:24 16/01/2013
Empire Hotel publican John McGrath
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
GOOD GUY: Empire Hotel publican John McGrath says Glen Jones, who was beaten to death, often came into his bar, but was not a big drinker. Mr McGrath says Mr Jones was liked by everyone.
Four Square owner Allan Pollard
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
DEVASTATED: Four Square owner Allan Pollard, who employed Mr Jones, says nothing was too much trouble for him.

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As locals mourn the loss of a Featherston man who "wouldn't hurt a fly", police have arrested a fifth person sought in connection with his brutal death.

Hayden Ranson, 27, walked into the Upper Hutt police station and gave himself up about 10.55am today.

He had been on the run from police since the fatal bashing of Glen Jones, 40, at his home on Fitzherbert St, Featherston, early on Saturday morning.

He would face a charge of entering Mr Jones' home armed with a wooden bat and an axe handle when he appears in the Lower Hutt District Court tomorrow a spokesman said.

"I know that Glen's family has been eagerly anticipating a resolution and will be relieved, Detective Inspector Sean Hansen said.

"This result will also bring some comfort to the Featherston and greater Wairarapa communities."

The investigation was ongoing and anyone with information should still contact police, Mr Hansen said.

VICTIM 'WOULDN'T HURT A FLY'

Glen Jones would always make the short stroll from his home to his work with a smile on his face.

But on Saturday, staff at the Featherston supermarket where he had worked for more than a decade were surprised when he did not show up for his 8am shift.

They did not realise police were at his Fitzherbert St home investigating a bashing which led to the 40-year-old's death.

Yesterday Mr Jones' grieving family - described as staunch members of the Featherston community - broke their silence on his death.

"A piece of this family was taken from us and we have been left devastated," they said. "He was part of the fabric of the Featherston community and lots of people looked out for him."

Members of the Wairarapa community - also struggling to come to terms with the attack - are relieved police have made arrests in the case, but there is growing speculation about what led to the attack.

Featherston resident Liz Mellish said she had known Mr Jones since he was a boy, when he became seriously ill and was lucky to survive.

He went to Featherston School, then Kuranui College, in Greytown, with her children.

"He was just one of those lovely kids . . . always polite," she said. "He was a gentle, sweet kid - shy though."

After school Mr Jones worked on a dairy farm before later taking up a job at Becketts Supermarket - now the local Four Square.

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Allan Pollard, general manager of the company which owns the supermarket, said Mr Jones was a storeman and shop assistant and staff were devastated by his death.

"Nothing was too much trouble for him. There were never any arguments. He was very loyal.

"The staff are still in a bit of shock . . . We are just very, very sorry to have lost someone of his work ethic and calibre."

Empire Hotel publican John McGrath said Mr Jones often came into the bar for a beer, but was not a big drinker.

He was a member of the pub's pool team, with his former partner Lisha Wellington.

"He was just a non-threatening, non-assuming, good guy.

"He had no enemies whatsoever and was liked by everybody in this town. He wouldn't hurt a fly."

His funeral will be at the Anzac Hall in Featherston on Friday.

POLICE HUNT FOR ALLEGED ATTACKER

Four people have so far been arrested in connection with the attack on Glen Jones, but police are still hunting for Hayden Ranson, who is believed to be on the run somewhere in the central or upper North Island.

Ranson's Facebook name was changed yesterday using an iPhone to Hayden Fatboi Crim Ranson.

Police said they were monitoring the website, but by last night had received no confirmed sightings of the 27-year-old.

Armed offenders squad members yesterday arrested Kristofer Jones, 23, as he drove on State Highway 1, near Hunterville.

He did not enter a plea when he appeared in the Palmerston North District Court charged with entering Mr Jones' home armed with a wooden bat and an axe handle.

He was remanded in custody to reappear in court on Friday with two women, aged 22 and 32, and a man, 28.

- The Dominion Post

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