Police follow lead on fatal pub fight
A single blow is believed to have felled the Putaruru grandfather who died after a bar fight in the town last week.
Fitu Leau, 71, died in Waikato Hospital after his life support was turned off. He was admitted after being bashed in the Putaruru Sports Bar at the town’s hotel on Saturday night.
Putaruru Hotel lessee Tracy Thompson said the incident was ‘‘not a brawl’’. She understood Mr Leau struck the first blow. ‘‘ There was an older man and a young fellow talking and the old man grabbed the younger one and hit him twice and the young man just hit him back once. The older man fell and hit his head,’’ she said.
Police are speaking with a 29-yearold man in connection with the incident.
Bay of Plenty district crime manager Detective Inspector Tim Anderson said no charges had so far been laid against the 29 year old but noone else was being sought. ‘‘ The investigation is still ongoing in relation to the death and everyone has been co-operating with us,’’ Mr Anderson said. ‘‘We are confident we have spoken to all the parties that were in the hotel on Saturday night, so we are just working through the investigation now.’’ That would determine the seriousness of the charge laid, Mr Anderson said.
A friend of Mr Leau who did not want to be named described him as a loving man who adored his grandchildren. ‘‘This is a devastating blow for the Leau family. They’re a tightknit, hardworking family,’’ he said.
‘‘His mokos and children have lost a great papa. I just can’t imagine not seeing him at the (bar) any more, he was a top guy.’’
Mr Leau’s friend was not at the bar the night Mr Leau was bashed, but says he knows the Putaruru man believed to have committed the assault.
‘‘It’s hard when you come from a small community and something like this happens because everyone knows everyone. It’s a terrible tragedy that should not have happened.’’ Mr Leau is survived by his seven children and grandchildren.