Po­lice fol­low lead on fa­tal pub fight

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By NI­COLA BREN­NAN-TU­PARA

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.

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