Old friend fears foul play

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2013
Terence Charles Hendry mystery

FRONT PAGE MYSTERY: Terence Charles Hendry's disappearance in The Press on July 18, 1991.

Peter Pitcaithly
DAVID HALLETT / Fairfax NZ
HAUNTED: Peter Pitcaithly believes his best friend Terence Hendry was murdered. Police are taking a fresh look at the 22-year-old missing person cold case.
Terence Charles Hendry
Christchurch Police
DEAFENING SILENCE: Terence Charles Hendry has been missing since 1991.

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Peter Pitcaithly still clings to the memory of a photograph he took of his mate standing in front of his Datsun a few years before he went missing.

It was taken as he and Terence Charles Hendry stopped for a cup of tea at a picnic spot at the top of Lewis Pass. They were heading to one of their favourite holiday destinations - the West Coast.

That was more than two decades ago and the pair were only weeks away from a similar holiday when Hendry vanished.

Pitcaithly, 57, is still haunted by his mate's disappearance. He believes Hendry was murdered.

"If it is foul play, I want to be in that courtroom."

Police this week announced they were taking a fresh look at the 22-year-old cold case.

They want anyone with information to come forward - including a group related to a New Brighton tattoo parlour with whom Hendry associated.

Hendry received several tattoos at the parlour, including a large one on his back featuring a boy and girl praying.

Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald said police believed Hendry was dead and they had not ruled out foul play.

Investigators fielded several calls from people, including Pitcaithly, after making a public appeal over the case, prompting some hope the mystery might be solved.

Pitcaithly was living in Australia at the time Hendry disappeared in June 1991.

Hendry, 32, left his parents' Woolston home, telling them he was off to the post office to withdraw some money. He had no cash in his wallet and his distinctive old orange Datsun was nearly out of petrol. Hendry and the car have not been seen since.

Pitcaithly said Hendry's family were "in a terrible state, and I was, too" after he vanished.

"He was just a top bloke," he told The Press.

"I thought we'd be friends for life."

Pitcaithly flew to New Zealand and helped search for his friend, but he knew the situation was hopeless.

Hendry had mental health issues, but it was unlikely he would have killed himself, Pitcaithly said.

"I always felt it was foul play.

"How do you commit suicide and then dispose of your car?

"I would love to find out what happened and, if it is foul play, I want to be in that courtroom to see [the person(s)] responsible.

"He was so harmless. Someone may have had a go at him and I couldn't see him fighting back."

Pitcaithly never met the group associated with the tattoo parlour. Hendry never introduced him, he said.

Peter Hendry, 52, yesterday told The Press the stresses generated by his older brother's disappearance had "destroyed" his family.

He also suspects foul play and hopes someone out there will come forward with information that will give his family some closure.

Fitzgerald said he hoped publicising the case again might encourage someone who "wasn't telling us the full truth" to reconsider information they gave in 1991.

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"We're hoping that if we shake the tree hard enough, some information will fall out of it," Detective Sergeant Al Lester said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lester on (03) 3637400, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

- The Press

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