Orange cones mark the area where a security guard was found
Lance Scullin was "always there in times of trouble", but
after a violent clash with a group of youths he turned down
offers of help. Less than 12 hours later, he was dead.
The father-of-three, security guard and Neighbourhood Watch
co-ordinator was known in the community as a "peacemaker". So
it came as no surprise to his family that he would try to
break up a fight outside his Tauranga home on Saturday night.
He was assaulted with a fence paling by up to eight youths.
When police arrived they found he had received a minor injury
but didn't want to lay a complaint.
The 50-year-old was found dead in his backyard by neighbours
about 10am on Sunday with a head injury. Police are not
treating the death as homicide yet, but are regarding it as
suspicious as a post-mortem examination failed to reveal the
cause of death.
Mr Scullin's older brother, Chris Scullin, last night told
the Herald his brother was a caring man who died serving the
community he loved.
"He was putting himself out there to protect others when this
tragic event happened," he said. "Lance was a very
considerate man, he was well thought of in this community.
"He was a very community-minded person and a great father to
his three daughters, who are all under the age of 10. There
are difficult times ahead for Lance's three girls."
The girls were being cared for by friends and family, but did
not understand what had happened to their dad. Lance's former
partner was receiving counselling.
"They don't really know what's happened. They are away from
the address and the school and we are just working out how to
manage them within the friends and family."
The funeral is expected to be held on Thursday. Family and
friends including their younger brother, Nick, would travel
from Hawkes Bay, where Mr Scullin had spent some years of his
Chris Scullin wants anyone who knows what happened to come
"Lance is a person that we would like to see the right thing
Lance was a man that has been very, very positive and
community-minded all of his adult life and he deserves a bit
better than this," he said.
Nick Scullin said his brother was always "there to help".
"I will miss you," he wrote on Facebook. "You were always
there in times of trouble, your mana now will live inside
Nick Scullin promised to be there for Lance's children. "I
will be closer to your kids, I will make sure they become the
best in this wicked world we live [in]," he said. "I'm here
for my family through sickness and health till I depart from
Detective Senior-Sergeant Greg Turner said police were unsure
if the incident with the youths was linked to Mr Scullin's
death, but needed more information.
He said police patrolled the area around Mr Scullin's home,
on Kesteven Ave in the suburb of Merivale, where a number of
parties were taking place.
Officers were focusing their inquiries on eight youths who
were involved in the initial altercation. Mr Turner was
confident they would be located and appealed for the public's
help in identifying them and locating a missing piece of the
plank used to assault Mr Scullin.
A portion of the paling was found in the nearby Merivale
Primary School grounds, where his children were students. The
school was closed yesterday as part of its grounds and Mr
Scullin's home were examined.