Coroner uncertain on inquest

21:31, Dec 18 2012

The chief coroner says remains found at the site of a helicopter that crashed in remote Fiordland are still undergoing tests and he is uncertain whether he will reopen an inquest.

Wreckage of a Hughes 500 helicopter, which went missing in 2004 with pilot Campbell Montgomerie, 27, of Waikato, and Hannah Rose Timings, 28, of Gloucestershire, was found near the head of the Humboldt Creek last month.

Mr Montgomerie and Ms Timings were declared dead at an inquest in 2004 but the case was referred to the office of the chief coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, when the wreckage was found.

Before any decision regarding an inquest is reached, the remains recovered at the site require identification.

Judge MacLean said he was in contact with a coroner in England and there was no identification yet, but more remains were being tested.

He said he was uncertain whether another inquest would be held in New Zealand but, if a hearing was convened, it would need an application to the solicitor-general and a decision by the families if there was a need for an inquest.

There was also the possibility of an inquest in England but this would take some time to resolve, he said.

Ms Timings' father, Phil, told a British newspaper that he was 100 per cent sure the remains recovered from the scene were Hannah's.


The Southland Times