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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Coast plumber fined after
A young man scampering
along Mackay Street clad only
in his underpants was chased
by Greymouth police late this
morning. Astonished onlookers
watched from the footpaths as the
man, running from the direction of
the Courthouse, was apprehended
opposite the Work and Income
office and taken away by police
about 11.40am. A member of the
public told the Greymouth Star the
man, who appeared to be in his late
20s, was running “hell for leather”
while yelling out to someone he
apparently knew on the street that
he was facing very serious charges
in court. Several off-duty police
officers were quickly on the scene
and assisted with the arrest.
Flooded sink —
who ya gonna call?
Westport firefighters attended
a household sink emergency at
Carters Beach yesterday afternoon.
Fire chief Pat O’Dea said the
occupant of the property was
outside when water began flowing
out of the house — from an
overflowing blocked sink. “ There
was little we could do,” Mr O’Dea
said this morning. Meanwhile, the
volunteers were hauled out of bed
at 4.45am to reports of a burning
car at North Beach, Westport. Mr
O’Dea said the car could not be
found and the call-out appeared to
be a hoax.
A globally-respected financier
has revealed that he quit his job
running a $2 trillion investment
fund after his young daughter wrote
him a note pointing out that he had
missed 22 landmark events in her
life. Mohamed El-Erian’s 10-year-
old told her dad that he had skipped
her first day of school, Halloween
parade, her first soccer game of
the year and many recitals because
he was too busy at work. The
California-based investment guru’s
resignation in May 2013 shocked
the financial world. However in a
recent inter view, Mr El-Erian, who
made $100 million in 2011 alone,
explained that his young daughter
and wife Jamie were at the heart of
his decision. — Daily Mail
Rain, heavy about the ranges
Greymouth Star On-line
Greymouth police were justified in
following the speeding car in which Judd
Hall died in January, the Independent
Police Conduct Authority said in a
“Unfortunately, the choices made by
the driver of the car, Jordan McGrath, in
which Mr Hall was one of two passengers,
subsequently ended in tragedy,” Judge
David Carruthers said in his finding.
The whole incident lasted 33 seconds
and ran just over 1km up High Street,
before McGrath lost control of the car
outside the hospital and it slid off the
road and slammed into the front of a
house with enough impact to shunt it off
The police officer involved in the pursuit
was unable to catch up to the Subaru
before the crash occurred.
Judge Carruthers said a distance of
about 500m between McGrath’s car and
the police vehicle meant the officer was
never in a position to signal for him to
Because of this the officer concerned
was not engaged in a “pursuit ” as defined
by police policy, the judge said.
“This was an accident caused by the
actions of Mr McGrath, who was driving
dangerously and in excess of the blood-
alcohol limit for a person of his age. Mr
McGrath’s actions resulted in the tragic
loss of life of one of his passengers,” Judge
The incident began about 11pm on
Friday, January 24.
A police van parked in the driveway
of St Patrick’s Catholic Church spotted
McGrath’s white Subaru approaching
from the north and speeding south in the
The police officer decided to attempt to
talk to the Subaru driver and immediately
activated his blue and red lights, signalling
for the driver to stop.
According to the police conduct
authority, the officer did not activate
his siren but accelerated up to 100kph
as he followed McGrath from outside
St Patrick’s church.
McGrath, who was carrying two
passengers, Kori Jeffcoat and Mr Hall,
continued at speeds of about 100kph as
he approached the left-hand bend on
The police patrol car was about 500m
behind McGrath when the police officer
saw the car tail lights veer to the centre
of the road before the left side of the car
rose up as it entered the left-hand turn.
The officer then lost sight of the Subaru.
A witness on the Mobil service station
forecourt, just north of the bend, heard a
loud revving sound in the distance and
then saw the Subaru “flash past ”.
The witness did not see any brake lights
activate as it entered the bend, and saw
the driver begin to lose control.
The police vehicle went past between 10
and 20 seconds later, the witness said.
By the time the police came around the
bend the Subaru had already smashed
into the house.
The police officer immediately called
emergency services and ran to assist the
three men in the car. McGrath and Mr
Jeffcoat both received significant injuries.
Mr Hall died at the scene.
In May in the Greymouth District
Court, McGrath was convicted of
manslaughter, dangerous driving causing
injury and driving with excess blood-
alcohol. He pleaded guilty to all charges
and was imprisoned for five years with a
non-parole period of two years. He was
also disqualified from driving for five
A 25m stretch atop the
Greymouth floodwall is being
paved in the hope of stopping
people from throwing rock chip
into the miners’ memorial and
jamming the stone wheel.
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn said the moving
marble wheel stopped working
a few months ago due to gravel
blocking the clearance of the water
mechanism that propels the wheel.
“ What ’s happening, basically,
is the floodwall has got a fine
chip along it. Somebody has been
taking a handful of stones and
dropping it in the film of water
which drives the wheel,” Mr
The paving solution was to
remove the temptation to throw
gravel by tiling the immediate
vicinity of the memorial.
“It’s a major attraction in
Greymouth ... we’d rather have it
revolving than not.”
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
Westroads workers Murray Cochrane, left, Graham Smith, and Rhett Smith work on paving the top of the Greymouth floodwall.
Pebbles jamming miners’ memorial
Worksafe officials enter Pike River Mine tunnel
Closed dairy set to reopen
A Greymouth dairy that closed
down eight months ago due to
economics will reopen next month
as a discount dairy.
The former Mer v ‘n’ Kips Dairy
and Takeaways, in Tainui Street, was
subsequently converted into a short-
lived cafe. Westport businessman
Sunny Singh Bal confirmed today
he was in the process of taking over
the premises, which would resume
as a convenience store and fish
and chip shop, some time between
October 16 and 25.
It will bring Greymouth shoppers
the cheapest milk and bread prices
on the Coast, with two litres of milk
to sell for $2.49 and a loaf of bread
at 89c, undercutting the $1 a loaf
price at the Countdown and New
Mr Bal said he would not be
making a profit on milk and bread
at those prices, but would be selling
them as “ loss leaders”.
Earlier this year he opened the
Buller Discounter Dairy Westport,
to complement those he owns in
Nelson and Ashburton, and three
in Christchurch. He also owns six
liquor stores around the South
Mr Bal said that despite the
challenging location of the
Greymouth dairy, he was “1000%
confident of making the business
work, like we have been doing for
the last 18 years”.
“In Westport, our location on
Palmerston Street was not a very
good location ... really you want to
be on a corner of the street, but we
are one of the busiest dairies in the
whole of Westport.”
He said he had been intending to
open a dairy in Greymouth for some
time and had looked at two other
possible locations for starting one
up, but neither of them would work.
A few months ago Mr Bal shifted
to Christchurch, however as he
had done in Westport he would be
running the Greymouth dairy for
the first few months in person.
The mines inspectorate entered the
Pike River Mine for the first time a
month ago, papers released under the
Official Information Act show.
In mid-2011, Mines Rescue built
a seal 170m inside the drift, or main
tunnel; it was the first time rescuers
had entered the mine since the
disaster almost four years ago.
Debate is raging over whether they
can now continue the entire 2.4km to
the rockfall that then blocks the way
into the mine workings, where the
bodies of the 29 are believed to lie, or
if the lack of a second egress prevents
released to the
Greymouth Star today reveal
that staff from Worksafe, the
mines inspectorate, did in fact go
underground as far as the 170m seal
An e-mail from chief mines
inspector Tony Forster also asked for
an update on the preparation for the
re-entry during that visit.
He was accompanied by Worksafe
chief executive Gordon MacDonald
and High Hazard Unit general
manager Brett Murray.
Worksafe confirmed today the
“familiarisation trip” did go ahead.
Mines Rescue chairman Dave
Stewart told Radio New Zealand
today it would do a risk assessment
shortly on the re-entry plan, but at
this stage it was happy.
“One way in and one way out —
that ’s the nature of how we operate. If
you talk to any Mines Rescue person
we have always been ready to go,
that ’s the nature of what we are here
for,” Mr Stewart said.
However, if Solid Energy insisted on
first building an escapeway, he agreed
the re-entry was probably impossible.
Judd Hall death blamed on driver
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