Terror spree suspect on parole
A man arrested over his alleged link to the killing of a Christchurch woman and attack on two female hitchhikers on the West Coast has been shifted to Christchurch Hospital for treatment to dog bite wounds.
Police launched a homicide investigation after the body of Amy Elizabeth Farrall, 24, was found in the boot of her car in a supermarket car park in Woolston, Christchurch, about 5pm on Sunday.
An hour earlier, a German woman, 28, and a woman of Japanese and Dutch origin, 27, were found stabbed and with broken bones in Franz Josef.
The pair had been picked up while hitchhiking at Whataroa.
Police believed the two incidents may be connected.
The man would remain under police guard while in hospital, where the two female hitchhikers were also receiving care for stab wounds and fractures.
Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Johnston, acting crime manager for Tasman police district, said this morning a bed-side court hearing to lay charges against the 38-year-old was a possibility, depending on the length of time he remained in hospital.
Police were required to lay charges as soon as reasonably possible and he was yet to be charged, he said.
''We were looking at a bedside court sitting and if he had stayed here in Greymouth today, that is what we would have done. They will have to assess that once he is in Christchurch.''
He said the man was taken by ambulance to Christchurch Hospital this morning, accompanied by two police staff as guards.
''He did suffer some minor injuries at the time he was arrested,'' Johnston said of the man's leg injuries.
One or two police dogs were involved in his dramatic 3am arrest in south Westland yesterday.
The man doused himself with petrol and threw burning items out the window of a vehicle during a 90-minute pursuit and a tense five-hour standoff with armed police which ended 25 kilometres south of Fox Glacier when officers fired rounds similar to rubber bullets and let loose a police dog.
The man was admitted to Grey Base Hospital yesterday morning, once police drove him to Greymouth.
Police had preliminary discussions with the two hitchhikers yesterday but would conduct further interviews once their health improved, he said.
The two women were airlifted to Christchurch Hospital yesterday evening by Garden City flying doctor service.
The pair had been hitchhiking down the West Coast after staying a few days in Greymouth.
The man allegedly picked them up in Whataroa but they managed to escape his car after he drove to a remote spot in Franz Josef Glacier township about 4pm on Sunday.
It was understood the German woman suffered three stab injuries to her neck in an altercation in the car and the other woman suffered pelvic fractures when she fell out of the car.
''I understand they are both in a stable condition today.''
Johnston said inquiries on the West Coast would focus on sightings of the arrested man and his vehicle. A photo of the car was expected to be released publicly today of the dark blue coloured Nissan Terrano, registration WR4174.
Police called for public assistance to determine the man's movements between his last sighting in Christchurch on Saturday morning and when police spotted him on the West Coast at 8pm on Sunday evening.
Johnston said the arrested man's car was in a secure lock-up in Greymouth and a preliminary search of it would be completed today.
A more detailed forensic examination would be conducted later this week.
A member of the public found some items dumped on the roadside in Franz Josef Glacier yesterday, which police were checking to see if they belonged to the hitchhikers.
STILL ON PAROLE
The man at the centre of the police inquiry had only been out of prison for six months and was still on parole.
He was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court in May 2009 to five years and three months jail for an array of crimes including burglary, theft, arson and manufacturing methamphetamine.
The man was freed on parole from Rimutaka Prison last October.
At a hearing a month earlier, the Parole Board ruled the man's risk to the community could be ''adequately mitigated'' over the remaining nine months of his sentence.
''He has tentatively proposed that in time he may work with a friend in Christchurch,'' the board's decision says.
The special conditions of his release meant he was not allowed to consume and possess alcohol, illicit drugs and synthetic cannabis.
He also had to complete rehabilitation programmes.
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said this morning she had been briefed about the man at the centre of the police investigation and there was "nothing to suggest this offender's parole conditions weren't handled properly".
"In such circumstances I would expect a thorough investigation by Corrections into their management of the offender," Tolley said in a statement.
In an unusual move, Corrections Services national commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot said last night a review would be undertaken to make sure the department's supervision of the man ''met our standards''.
''While we do not normally comment ahead of the court process, I thought it important to reassure the public that our initial inquiries show that this offender had met his parole conditions up to the point of his last reporting in to us on 18 March,'' Lightfoot said.
''Our probation staff were in regular contact with him and those he was living with.''
An application to have the man recalled to prison would be lodged with the Parole Board.
Scene examinations were continuing at the Wildbery St, Woolston address this morning.
A police spokesman confirmed the man may have been living at Farrall's home recently.
Detective Senior Sergeant Darryl Sweeney appealed for sightings of another vehicle in connection with the police investigation.
It was Farrall's white Toyota Corolla, registration number WR2685, which police believed was driven from her home in Wildberry St to New World in St Johns St, Woolston, between 9am and 10am on Saturday.
Police would not be commenting on the nature of Farrall's injuries, Sweeney said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Christchurch police on 03-363-7400 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.