News from NZ Police
Police investigating how a man suffered critical injuries outside a caravan parked on a Waihi Beach driveway early on New Year’s Day are hoping technology may be able to play a part in identifying who was in the area.
Eastern Waikato Area Commander, Inspector Dana McDonald said Police from across the Waikato and colleagues from Auckland and Counties Manukau were assisting in the investigation known as Operation Brad.
“There are currently about 20 staff working on the investigation with the likelihood of more officers and support staff coming in. The victim, a 64-year-old expat holidaying at Waihi Beach from his home in Queensland Australia, is in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.”
Mr McDonald said one of the challenges for police working on the investigation was the fluctuating nature of Waihi Beach’s holiday population.
“The population of Waihi Beach swelled from about 3000 up to 16,000 over the holiday period and unfortunately for the investigation team today was the day thousands of potential sources of information vital to our case chose to leave for home.
“We initially set up checkpoints at the exits out of Waihi trying to speak to people but this proved to cause too much congestion and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. At the same time we’re trying to appeal to people who may have taken photographs in the area after midnight on 01 January to contact us.”
Investigators trying to identify hundreds of people in the area at the time of the incident believe dozens of photos may have been taken of people and they want to hear from anyone who may be wiling to forward Police such images.
“People often take snaps of New Year’s Eve revellers and then think nothing more of them. What we are after is images of people in and around Beach, Hinemoa and Ocean View Roads, the surf club, camping ground and Esplanade between 12.30am and 1.30am.
“During that time lines of Police were ushering large numbers of people out of the area, trying to encourage them to go home and we feel there may be dozens of potentially very useful images out there.”
Anyone with such images is asked to email them as attachments to Thames@police.govt.nz stating you give consent for the images to be used by NZ Police and also the names of any person you are able to identify in those images.
“We feel confident in making this appeal given the large degree of support we have already received from the public in regards to people approaching our temporary Police station at the caravan, the Public Information caravan outside the Waihi Beach Police Station and those who have phoned Police or Crimestoppers.
“As we have said earlier, what happened to this man and his family is not only a tragedy for them but also for the wider Waihi Beach community and we would appeal for anyone with information to come forward either by phoning Police on 07 858 6200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”
Mr McDonald said this appeal wasn’t just to the public but to the offender and any associates as well. “By now the seriousness of the situation has more than likely become apparent to anyone involved. Our advice to that person, or those persons involved, is that the situation is not going to get any better without them making contact with us. We would advise you to do the right thing and make contact with Police rather than wait for us to find you.
Earlier News from NZ Police
The investigation into how an Australian visiting Waihi Beach suffered critical stab wounds early on New Year’s Day is now in its second day. Police say it is crucial they speak to people before they leave the area.
Eastern Waikato Area Commander, Inspector Dana McDonald, said the 64-year-old man remains in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit with severe head injuries.
“Police investigating yesterday morning’s attack commenced a scene examination yesterday afternoon that continued into the night and resumed this morning, assisted by ESR forensic staff. At the same time other officers are continuing an area canvas, going door to door speaking to people staying in the area who may have seen or heard something during the early hours of yesterday morning. It is this phase which is really crucial for us in piecing together events.”
Police know that at the time of the incident, about 1am on Tuesday, there were a lot of people in the vicinity of where the man was attacked.
“Officers were moving large numbers of mostly young people on from the area around the surf club, the motor camp, Beach Rd and Ocean View Rd about the time of this incident and someone may have noticed something or someone suspicious.”
To that end, Mr McDonald said it was very important that people leaving the area today, who may have seen something or who may have knowledge of what happened, make contact with Police.
“Waihi Beach’s normal population is around 3000 and we know this swelled to about 16,000 over the period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Many of those people will be heading back home today, possibly with information vital to our investigation.
“We have set up a mobile Police Station at the scene of yesterday’s attack, on the corner of Beach and Ocean View Roads where people can make contact with the enquiry team or they can phone 07 858 6200 and leave their contact details and a member of the enquiry team will contact them.”
Alternatively information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
“This is a tragedy for the man’s family and the wider Waihi Beach community and it is important that anyone with any information makes contact with the enquiry team either directly or through Crimestoppers.”
News from NZ Police – January 1
Eastern Waikato Police are seeking the public’s assistance as they investigate an early morning stabbing in Waihi Beach that has left a visitor fighting for his life in Waikato Hospital.
Detective Inspector Karl Thornton of the Waikato CIB said a scene examination is underway as investigators try and piece together what happened.
“Initial indications are a couple staying in a caravan outside 25 Waihi Beach Rd heard a disturbance about 1am and went to investigate. They encountered a man and told him to leave but then the husband suffered stab wounds to his neck and head before the offender fled. Seriously injured, the man was airlifted to Waikato Hospital in a critical condition.”
Mr Thornton said there were a lot of people out in the area at the time of the incident celebrating the New Year in and it was these people Police believed may hold the key in identifying the offender.
“We would like to speak to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious or who may know the identity of the attacker. Anyone with any information on the incident is asked to contact either Acting Detective Senior Ross Patterson at the Waihi Police Station on 07 863 8179 or alternatively, information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”