Killer still on the loose


South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

The cold- blooded mur­der of Ge­orge Ta­iaroa last Tues­day evening re­mains a mys­tery.

Mr Ta­iaroa, a 67- year- old road­worker for HEB con­struc­tion, was shot last Tues­day at a traf­fic stop at the Tiro­hanga Bridge, near Ati­a­muri.

Po­lice yes­ter­day set up road check­points to try to iden­tify other po­ten­tial wit­nesses who are reg­u­lar users of the lo­cal road net­work and may have trav­elled through the area at the same time last week when Mr Ta­iaroa was shot.

Last week po­lice dive squad mem­bers also swept the neigh­bour­ing river for clues.

Mr Ta­iaroa, who lived in Hamil­ton, was laid to rest on Satur­day in Otaki.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Mark Loper, who is head­ing the case, said po­lice have sought video footage from cab- mounted cam­eras from in­side trucks that were in the area around the time of the shoot­ing.

They also want farm­ers with se­cu­rity cam­eras to come for­ward as the killer may have used ru­ral and for­est roads when they fled.

The po­lice are in­ter­ested in sight­ing a blue four-wheel-drive, sim­i­lar to a Jeep Chero­kee. The team of more than 30 of­fi­cers is fo­cus­ing on a short time be­tween 2.30pm and about 3.20pm last Tues­day, and want to speak with ev­ery­one who crossed the oneway bridge in Tram Rd dur­ing this time.

Mr Loper said mo­tive­less killings are ‘‘rare.’’

‘‘ Random, mo­tive­less homi­cides are in­cred­i­bly rare in New Zealand. Ex­pe­ri­ence and crime sci­ence tells us that crime is not random,’’ he said.

‘‘Un­til we es­tab­lish a mo­tive it is im­pos­si­ble to an­swer the ques­tion ‘Why Ge­orge?’.’’

Mr Loper said it was pos­si­ble the killer did not know Mr Ta­iaroa and that the tragedy may have been ‘‘ prompted by some event on the road­way’’.

‘‘What we do know is that peo­ple will rarely kill with­out mo­ti­va­tion and, if we can iden­tify that mo­ti­va­tion, then we will be a step closer to catch­ing Ge­orge’s killer.’’

Po­lice are be­ing cau­tious with the in­for­ma­tion they dis­close, un­able to put ru­mours to rest as they in­ves­ti­gate all leads.

‘‘With ev­ery homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tion there will in­evitably be ru­mour and spec­u­la­tion mixed up with fact,’’ Mr Loper said.

‘‘Po­lice will not be en­ter­ing into com­men­tary on spe­cific pieces of in­for­ma­tion that may or may not sit within the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, as to do so could jeop­ar­dise its progress.

‘‘Suf­fice to say the team wel­come all in­for­ma­tion and whether it is pro­vided as ru­mour or fact, its rel­e­vance to the in­quiry will be as­sessed.’’

Crim­i­nol­o­gist Greg New­bold said the killing ap­peared more like an ‘‘or­gan­ised hit’’ than a random ‘‘thrill shoot­ing’’.

‘‘It’s start­ing to look more like an or­gan­ised hit be­cause they haven’t found the car and the lack of ev­i­dence sug­gests it’s more or­gan­ised,’’ he said.

‘‘If it was a random shoot­ing, they would have left clues ev­ery­where.’’

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can con­tact the in­ves­ti­ga­tion team di­rectly on 0800 Kingswood ( 0800 546 479). Al­ter­na­tively in­for­ma­tion can be pro­vided anony­mously on Crimestop­pers – 0800 555111.

Lop’er – De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Mark YOUR HELP IS NEEDED: Ge­orge Ta­iaroa was mur­dered last Tues­day and po­lice need your help to catch his killer.

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