Man admits Oamaru man's murder

Last updated 13:04 24/05/2012
Blueskin Bay Estuary
Wilma McCorkindale

MURDER SCENE: James Matthew Ellis was found lying on the beach at Blueskin Bay Estuary.

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A man has admitted the murder of an Oamaru man whose body was found lying on a beach by two people out walking a dog.

This morning, Peter Richard Holmes, 26, pleaded guilty in the Dunedin High Court to the murder of James Matthew Ellis, 23, on April 15 2011 at Warrington.

Ellis' body was found by a Warrington local out walking her dog at the Blueskin Bay Estuary, north of Dunedin, early on April 15 last year.

Police made the arrests the day after, on Saturday, April 16.

Police said an autopsy showed he had suffered "gruesome" blunt-force trauma injuries to his head, hands and arms, and revealed he died from the injuries to his head.

The murder sparked an extensive investigation involving police from across the lower half of the South Island. Ellis was believed to have been at a party with the two Carruthers men and Holmes in Oamaru the night before.

Holmes has been remanded in custody and will appear for sentencing on July 16.

Two other men, Mark Robert Carruthers, 18, and his father Dean Robert Carruthers, 48, have also been charged with Ellis' murder, but did not plead.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the two men were remanded for a trial later this year.

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