Dad feared drug use by crash victim

Last updated 13:00 20/12/2012

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The father of a woman killed with her family in a crash near Tokoroa says he was concerned about her abuse of drugs and alcohol before her death.

Family and friends gathered in Whakamaru, south of Tokoroa, yesterday to mourn the deaths of Lisa Crowley, 23, her partner Richard Melling, 37, and three children, Jordan Melling, 11, Brody Crowley, 2, and a 3-week-old baby.

The family died when their car crashed into pine trees barely six kilometres from their home.

Ms Crowley's father, David Crowley, told 3 News that she was "involved with drugs and alcohol".

Mr Melling's aunt, Donna Northcott, said the couple were loving parents.

"Richard was a lovely boy. He had his faults, he was a bit of a ratbag, but underneath he had a heart of gold," she said.

"He loved his children, Lisa was the lady of his life."

Police are still investigating but it is thought the family crashed between Sunday and 1pm on Tuesday on a sweeping bend flanked by pine and poplar trees.

The wreckage was discovered barely an hour after two Indian tourists were killed at Atiamuri, about 35km south of Tokoroa on State Highway 1.

They were yesterday named as father and son Dilip Kataruka, 56, and Madhav Kataruka, 19, from Jharkhand in eastern India. They had been in the country since December 10 to visit relatives.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation

Mr Melling and Ms Crowley's best friends, neighbours Anna and Wayne Arthur, yesterday told Fairfax their "world had been torn apart".

"I still can't believe it," Mrs Arthur said. "I'm expecting them to come through that door and tell me everything is OK.

The 3-week-old baby was Mr Melling and Ms Crowley's second child together. "They told us they were planning to call him Dylan and they were so damn happy."

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- The Nelson Mail

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