Home' Greymouth Star : August 19th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 5
Disabled man ate
himself to death
A Northland iwi leader has pleaded
guilty to possessing five kereru (native
wood pigeons, also known as kukupa)
but has denied hunting or killing the
Ngapuhi elder Sonny Tau, 61, was
found with a number of kereru at
Invercargill Airport in June.
He was charged one count of killing or
hunting a protected species and another
of unlawfully being in possession of
Tau appeared in the Invercargill
District Court yesterday and pleaded
guilty to the possession charge, but
denied the hunting and killing charge.
The judge remanded Tau for a case
review hearing on September 28. His
attendance at that hearing has been
Outside court, Tau made a brief
statement, saying he ought not to
comment any further while the matter
was still before the courts.
Since the incident, Tau has stood
aside from his position of chairman
of Tuhoronuku, the body recognised
as having mandate to negotiate the
Ngapuhi treaty settlement.
The maximum penalty for taking
a protected species is a fine of up to
$100,000 or two years in prison.
— N Z ME-Newstalk
A disabled man has eaten himself to death
after ingesting a “very large volume of food”.
The man’s carers have copped coronial criticism
in a report into Paul Douglas Thompson’s death
Coroner Carla na Nagara said Mr Thompson,
who died in Hawke’s Bay Hospital, in Hastings,
in April 2013, received inadequate care at the
Idea Ser vices facility in the city.
Those charged with looking after the 37-year-
old did not respond proactively enough to
his constantly soiling himself, nor were they
watchful enough in recording the amount he
“ I do not consider these inadequacies led to
Paul’s death, but there are important matters
in the wider factual matrix of his death,” the
Mr Thompson had Prader Willi Syndrome,
whose sufferers are affected by obsessive eating
and learning difficulties.
He died in hospital on April 8 two years
ago about three hours after arriving there by
ambulance with stomach pain and vomiting.
The night before he obtained keys to the Idea
Ser vices home’s food stores and “gorged himself
on a large quantity of food”. In medical terms,
“massive acute consumption of food” was one of
the main reasons he died.
He is believed to have eaten three loaves of
breed, eight buns and 24 muesli bars.
That night he suffered from what care worker
Tia Taukamoa described as an “upset tummy ”
and he “messed himself ” constantly in bed and
in the hallway.
Usually he would say if he felt sick but that
night he did not.
About 4am Ms Taukamoa found a set of
keys to where food was kept hidden under Mr
Thompson’s mattress. She checked but was not
sure if any food was missing. Mr Thompson said
he stole the keys from the office.
For breakfast, Mr Thompson had fruit toast
and milo as usual, but he did not finish his
A search of his room by another care worker,
Angela Harmer, soon revealed a bag of
hamburger buns with eight missing, 24 empty
muesli bar wrappers and three empty bread bags.
Mr Thompson went about his normal routine
and although he was “ burping and farting
and had a bloated stomach”, this was thought
normal after he had extra food.
But when he arrived at his community
programme that morning Mr Thompson was
struggling to walk and “sort of waddling”.
“(Community ser vice worker Karen Brookes)
recalled his stomach was huge, that it sounded
as though he was having trouble breathing, and
this his face was pale.”
He was taken to a doctor and when his stomach
pain and vomiting got worse, to hospital.
Ms na Nagara said Mr Thompson’s condition
worsened on Ms Taukamoa’s watch and while
she clearly was concerned about him and helped
him appropriately, she was not proactive enough
once she found the food keys.
Idea Ser vices workers also failed to effectively
tell medics how much food Mr Thompson had
eaten and when he had done so, although the
coroner also said she didn’t intend any “personal
criticism of individual workers as there is no
evidence anyone was less than committed to
discharging their responsibilities adequately”.
Rather, it was a “training issue” and Ms
na Nagara recommended that Idea Ser vices
review and deal with the issues raised over Mr
Thompson’s death and possibly provide staff
with more training. — N Z ME
Six people charged over a wide-ranging police
sting on the Head Hunters gang can now be
The case — involving methamphetamine,
violence, money-laundering and weapons
charges — came before Judge Stan Thorburn in
the Auckland District Court yesterday.
The alleged “kingpin” was allowed to appear
earlier because of his “fragile and precarious
state of health”.
He pleaded not guilty to a raft of charges,
more of which were added, and was released on
bail so he could attend medical appointments.
Despite arguments for continued name
suppression by his counsel Adam Holland, the
judge refused to continue the order.
“This case is not out of the ordinary at all and
there’s nothing extreme about anything placed
before me,” Judge Thorburn said.
However, Mr Holland indicated there would
probably be an appeal to the High Court and
his client was given a week-long reprieve.
Six other people allegedly involved with the
gang can now be named: Thomas Gordon
Edwardson, 55, from Mount Wellington;
Travis James Sadler, 36, from Henderson;
Falco Brouq Cellah Maaka, 28, from Glen
Eden; Sunny Marie Lee Hohepa, 32, from
Mount Wellington; Peter Francis Atkinson, 70,
from Parau; Allister David Vousden, 43, from
A couple of defendants will appear over
the next two weeks for bail and suppression
hearings but a court date in mid-October was
set for the 10-strong group. Most of the accused
have entered not guilty pleas and none have
admitted charges at this stage. — NZ ME
Six Head Hunters face court
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