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WEST COAST FEATURE
Goldfields murder mystery?
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SATURDAY, JANUARY 17, 2015
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The Grey District Council says it
is holding off enforcing its bylaw
requiring all fishermen and boaties
crossing the Grey River bar to wear
a lifejacket. The council passed the
rule as part of a new port bylaw in
October. The council was to police
the wearing of lifejackets. Council
chief executive Paul Pretorius said
because it was a new measure, they
were implementing it on a “softly,
softly basis”. Mr Pretorius said the
council preferred that mariners
would “accept it as part of what
they do rather than making it an
Mouse tails wanted
West Coast residents have
been asked to collect mouse tails,
all in the name of science. The
Department of Conser vation said
a researcher from the University
of Waikato was studying mouse
genetics and trying to work out
whether South Westland mice were
Asian or European or how they had
cross-bred over the years. People
were asked to help by collecting
up to 10 tails at each location. The
researcher was particularly keen
to receive tails from remote places,
including wilderness areas, but any
South Westland mouse tail would
help. More information on what to
do with them is on the DOC West
Coast Facebook page.
A hungry criminal faces jail after
breaking into a police station and
helping himself to some Weetbix,
milk and ravioli. Lynton Frazer,
38, was given a three-month
sentence after preparing ‘breakfast ’
when he forced entry to Oxgangs
Police Station, in Edinburgh. The
break-in was probably made worse
by the horrendous concoction of
Weetbix, milk and ravioli pasta he
was found cooking up in a saucepan
when officers responded to the
alarm. “ The only answer is a prison
sentence,” said Sheriff Frank Crowe
when handing down the term at
Edinburgh Sheriff Court. “Under
that regime you can be seen by a
psychiatrist and have medication.”
Frazer’s lawyer said the criminal
acts were a purposeful attempt to
get arrested so he could receive
treatment for a substance abuse
issue. — Metro
Some rain, heavy south of glaciers
Missing miner declared dead
Almost five years after Kumara
mysteriously disappeared, the Chief
Coroner has ruled he is dead.
Mr McAllister allegedly owed
money, yet he left gold nuggets in his
abandoned ute, vanishing in an area
that is riddled with old mine shafts.
Greenstone district where he had a
gold claim, found no trace of him.
Mr McAllister, 70, who moved from
the Hawke’s Bay to the West Coast to
chase gold in his retirement, was last
seen leaving his claim on January 21,
2010. He was reported missing four
The coroner’s case has given a rare
insight into the police investigation,
and goes against one former police
theory that he had absconded to
MacLean’s findings state that Mr
McAllister had left his claim, north-
east of Kumara, at 2.30pm in his
white Mitsubishi ute.
In the days before, he had arranged
with a long-time friend to visit on
the evening of Friday, January 22,
and fossick in a nearby river. When
his friend arrived, Mr McAllister was
not there. He noticed the house was
not locked, and his phone and two
wallets, with money inside, were still
in the house.
McAllister’s family and an initial
search was launched on Wednesday,
Searchers started at his claim, and
his vehicle was found on a side road
leading to the Greenstone River. A
vial of gold nuggets was inside.
“Police confirmed that this was
consistent with a regular practice
among miners of having gold available
and on show,” Judge MacLean said.
The search involved media stories,
door to door inquiries, checks on all
known bank and phone accounts,
overseas experts and even a reward.
The coroner’s papers reveal that,
before his disappearance, proceedings
had been filed to have Mr McAllister
declared bankrupt, and a hearing had
been set for March 2010.
A Small Claims Tribunal hearing
against him for the sum of $7500
was held, but he did not attend. A
complaint had also been made to
police alleging that Mr McAllister
had been given $100,000 in payment
for a share purchase in a company,
which “allegedly was not genuine”.
However, police had a financial
appreciation report done and found
he was solvent at the time he was last
Subsequent sightings, including one
reported near Kumara, could not be
Detective constable Paul Heathcote
told the coroner a “staged”
disappearance was the least likely of
three theories. Mr McAllister had
no other identities, or the financial
means to live. He also had “positive”
relationships with his children.
Mr Heathcote said that although he
had “some known difficulties, there
is no evidence to support the theory
that he had died as a result of criminal
The most likely option was that
Mr McAllister had died as a result
of an accident or medical emergency,
Mr Heathcote said, noting that his
personal belongings were still at
home, and a quantity of gold had
been left in his ute.
The area where he went missing
was full of steep areas, crevices, and
disused mine shafts, not all of which
were on maps.
The coroner said he was satisfied Mr
McAllister had died some time on, or
around, the date of his disappearance
in January 2010. However, he was
unable to make any determination as
to the manner in which he died.
Feature: What happened
to Hugh McAllister? p7
Twelve years before
from his Greenstone gold
claim, a transient man
was killed execution style
on the Mikonui beach
in a murder that remains
David John Robinson’s
body was found at Bold
Head, south of the
Mikonui River near Ross,
on December 27, 1998.
The 25-year-old had a
single gunshot hole in the
centre of his forehead.
Mr Robinson had been
dead between 10 and 21
days before his body was
Formerly of Rotorua,
he had not contacted his
family for eight years
before his death, and
appeared to have been
living hand to mouth.
He was last seen at
a court appearance on
November 11, 1998.
Mr Robinson had
spent much of his adult
life living rough around
the country, stealing to
sur vive. A month earlier,
police had arrested him for
stealing food and money.
There were suggestions
at the time that he was
involved in drugs.
He had been arrested
near Haast in early
November that year for
the theft of a vehicle and
was remanded to the
Whataroa District Court,
but he failed to appear two
Police used fingerprints
to identify his body.
Promising leads from
viewers of the Police 10-7
television programme after
the case were reviewed a
few years ago, prompted
the Greymouth CIB to
offer a reward.
“There is somebody
who hasn’t come for ward.
This reward is aimed
specifically at that
sergeant Andy Oliver, of
the Greymouth CIB, said
at the time.
A $50,000 reward
and immunity from
prosecution was offered
— but the case went quiet
PICTURE: Viv Logie
Hannah, left, and Kyle Hsieh, Haylee MacKinnon, Simon Norris and Jacob MacKinnon take time out to read at the Grey Main School library this week as part of the
summer reading challenge. The school has been opening its library every Wednesday during the holidays, from 11am to 1.30pm, to enable children to get books to keep up
their reading over the break. Every time the children visit the library they go in a draw to win a $50 book voucher.
Arnott Heights residents say they are fed
up with the lookout over Greymouth being
left untidy, with bushes being used as a toilet
and even hammocks being slung off the
platform by freedom campers.
Leigh Sullivan said the grass was overgrown
and rubbish was left in the bushes.
“It ’s just not good for the public, it ’s not
good for Greymouth. This is where tourists
come and it ’s a mess,” Mr Sullivan said.
The gutters were also overgrown and filled
with punga fronds.
Because contractors mowed the roadside
bank only two or three times a year, one
of the residents took it upon themselves to
mow part of the overgrown section by the
Mr Sullivan e-mailed the Grey District
Council but had not heard back for two
He bemoaned a lack of pride by locals
as well, with the area heavily defaced with
“ Tidy it up and keep it tidy,” he said.
Fellow Arnott Heights resident Patrick
O’L eary highlighted the need for a ‘no
freedom camping’ sign after he saw tourists
with hammocks set up on the lookout and a
tent close by.
“They aren’t as bad this year as they were
last year, but it is still a real nuisance,” Mr
O’L eary said.
He had also caught tourists defecating in
the bushes, just off the footpath.
Grey District Council environmental
ser vices manager Steven May said the
council could be contacted around the clock
by residents who needed to report a matter
and it would be followed up.
“The freedom camping compliance
contractor will be asked to visit this area and
assess freedom camping compliance, but I
encourage residents to contact council in the
first instance with a detailed description so
that we can update the contractor’s patrol
strategy,” Mr May said.
Freedom campers make themselves at home
Good holiday read
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