Husband runs over wife in 4WD accident

JOELLE DALLY AND NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 25/10/2013

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It was an everyday task that turned into tragedy.

Jon and Denise Winskill were doing some jobs on their rural lifestyle property and had just refilled some water tanks on the back of his truck.

As Jon Winskill, a spraying contractor, was reversing the Toyota four-wheel-drive vehicle into a carport, he felt a bump.

He got out to see what it was, and realised he had fatally run over his wife.

Despite his desperate attempts to revive Christchurch teacher Denise Mary Robinson-Winskill, 58, and calling an ambulance on his cellphone, she died at the couple's property on Ellesmere Rd near Lincoln shortly before 8pm on Wednesday.

Her devastated family say the incident has left her 56-year-old husband inconsolable.

However, they could take some consolation that the "outgoing and loving" Cashmere High School teacher died in a place she loved.

Denise Winskill's brother, Lee Robinson, said they still could not get their heads around the accident.

He understood his sister, who loved the couple's animals which included sheep, may have been taking photos of some newborn lambs on her iPod before she was hit.

Police said Jon Winskill did not realise where his wife was as he reversed.

"[Jon] couldn't believe he'd run her over. Whether she tripped, we don't know," Robinson said.

"It was all over very quickly. There was no suffering. It's just one of those terrible accidents," he said.

Robinson described his sister as a caring and loving woman who was "full of vitality".

The couple's property was her "bolt hole" after a day at work.

"They bought this lovely place and were just getting the garden together. She had very green fingers. She died being where she wanted to be."

His sister had an accomplished career, most recently as an English teacher at Cashmere High where she was regarded as intelligent and competent.

She was dedicated to her three children - Ben, 35, Toby, 33, and Phoebe Macrae, 32 - and recently visited two of them in the United States.

Denise and Jon Winskill had been married 10 years - a second marriage for both - and celebrated their anniversary in February.

Jon Winskill was "a mess - devastated". "Life deals very fickle blows," Robinson said. The funeral would be held next week.

Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer said the incident was being treated as "a tragic accident". The matter would be referred to the coroner, and police would make no comment on charges until the investigation was complete.

Cashmere High published a statement on its website saying the former head of school was "a devoted and passionate teacher".

A Year 13 student said Denise Winskill was a caring teacher, who helped him with his curriculum vitae so he could apply for a job.

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- The Press

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