The skies were grey, but the rain held off as mourners
made their way into the Waihi Beach RSA to farewell stabbing
victim Robert Wilkinson.
The 64-year-old, known as Murray, died in Waikato Hospital on
Thursday after he was stabbed in the neck and head outside
the caravan which he and his wife were staying in on a
property in Waihi Beach, between 12.30am and 1.30am on New
The atmosphere was solemn yesterday as mourners walked
quickly and quietly into the RSA.
About 100 cars packed the carpark just before the funeral
The expat New Zealander, who had been living in Queensland,
was on holiday and staying with friends on Beach Rd at the
time of the attack.
Tributes to the engineer and helicopter pilot have been
flowing in online forums.
On Bladeslapper.com, a meeting place for the Australian
helicopter community, members expressed their shock and
passed on condolences to Mr Wilkinson's family.
"I worked with Murray at Pacific Helicopters in the late '80s
and early '90s. Both of us were engineers who also did some
flying for the company. Great guy,'' said one. Messages were
also left on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network.
"I was lucky enough to know Murray both professionally and
socially, both in PNG and Australia. Excellent engineer and
all round nice guy.
"He never had a bad word to say about anyone and was always
smiling. My thoughts are with Lou and his family. RIP mate,''
said Dusty Dog.
"What a terrible tragedy. My sincere condolences to Murray's
family. Many-a-time did he tend the craft I used to fly in
PNG. He was a first class mechanic with a wonderfully dry
sense of humour. A very sad ending . .. What a world we live
in,'' said another member.
Police arrested an 18-year-old Waihi man yesterday and
charged him with Mr Wilkinson's murder. The teenager appeared
in Hamilton District Court this morning and has interim name
Waikato District Crime Manager Detective Chris Page said
about 30 police staff from across Waikato, Central and Upper
North Island were continuing to work on the case.
He urged anyone with information, who had not yet contacted
police, to do so.
The crime scene examination was completed during the weekend
and a number of items of interest were found, including
The Operation Brad inquiry team can be found at the Waihi
Beach and Waihi police stations or contacted via the inquiry
crimeline 0800 OP BRAD (0800 672 723). Alternatively
information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on
0800 555 111.
- By Amy McGillivray of the Bay of Plenty