Police quiet on Dunedin murder probe

Last updated 16:00 21/01/2014

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Police are growing frustrated at media speculation around last week's triple homicide in Dunedin, but remain taciturn about the investigation.

Police are under scrutiny after claims that the protection order against Edward Livingstone, who on Wednesday last week shot dead his children, Bradley, 9, and Ellen, 6, was not properly enforced.

University of Otago law faculty head Mark Henaghan has questioned why Dunedin courts seemed unaware Livingstone had threatened to kill. The threat had been reported to police.

Livingstone twice breached a protection order. The courts documented his breaches as minor and he escaped jail time.

Mel Foot, a neighbour of Livingstone's estranged wife, Katharine Webb, said she laid a complaint with police in August when Livingstone made the threats. Her complaint was never followed up.

Dunedin-Clutha-Waitaki district commander Inspector Greg Sparrow said police met Foot on Friday to discuss her concerns, but he declined to elaborate.

"There are many explanations and much speculation in the media about the facts in this tragic case," Sparrow said.

"Police's role is to thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances and this means we aren't able to comment on what the full facts might be while this tragedy is being investigated.

"The full facts of this case will be put before the coroner's court in due course," he said today.

Police confirmed that Livingstone did not have a firearms licence, but had accessed a shotgun. Although they knew how he got hold of it, they would not say.

Tim Black, a member of the national executive of the family law section of the New Zealand Law Society, said the court's decisions not to convict Livingstone were in line with his offences.

"A piece of paper can never stop someone with a gun."

Justice Minister Judith Collins has said it is not always possible to predict a person's behaviour. The blame for this senseless murder should rest with the offender.

Until more details are released by police, it is unclear if this tragedy could have been prevented.

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- Fairfax Media

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