husband of a murdered woman says he didn't stab his wife to
death and should not be considered a suspect.
Michael Preston, 59, said he had been detained by police,
interviewed, had his home searched, and his car has been
identified as a vehicle of interest.
Detectives continue to investigate the slaying of his
estranged 37-year-old Chinese wife Mei Fan, but Mr Preston
thought the murder was more likely a Chinese-commissioned
Ms Fan died after being stabbed multiple times with a kitchen
knife in her home by a killer police believe was wearing a
disguise. She wasn't found for two days. This week police
revealed the crime scene was broken into about a month after
the murder and a small card with a religious verse on it had
been placed near a photo of Ms Fan.
Detective Senior Sergeant John van den Heuvel, the officer in
charge of the case, said the investigation net was tightening
on the killer.
"In these whodunit-type cases, we start with a very large
suspect list, anyone and everyone. But as the investigation
progresses, the suspect list narrows. Suspects obviously
include people known to Mei.
"We're still keeping an open mind as to who may have done
this. I can't be specific but, needless to say, our suspect
list is now quite short."
In his first media interview, Mr Preston told the Herald that
although he thought police "believed it was me", he was
innocent and didn't deserve the scrutiny.
"I didn't do it, of course not. I have always maintained my
innocence," he said. "Yeah, I'm a suspect but I've got pretty
bloody rock-solid alibis. And also they've got no evidence.
And that's the worst part it's not that they've got no
evidence against me, it's that they've got no evidence."
He claimed his wife, who he met in China, had fled her
homeland after becoming involved in a crooked financial
scheme which had made her enemies.
Ms Fan was found the floor of her home in Miramar,
Wellington, on Sunday, November 10. Police think the killer
likely arrived at the house in disguise, slaughtered her with
a 32cm knife left behind at the scene, then changed clothes
The disguise may have been a subtle one, Mr van den Heuvel
said, but would likely have been enough to make the killer
unrecognisable to the victim.
"It could be items such as wigs, hats, clothes, gloves and
footwear. It's apparent this was a planned and prepared-for
crime, and that Mei's killer was forensically aware and has
taken steps to avoid being caught.
"It's quite possible they left the address in a completely
different set of clothes to those they arrived in."
Mr Preston's car was identified as "a vehicle of interest"
having been seen in Miramar the day Ms Fan was murdered.
"No assumptions have been made about who was driving the
vehicle," Mr van den Heuvel said. "We want to know who was in
it, what were they wearing, where were they going.'
The car, a 1992 bronze Toyota Corona sedan, has a missing
passenger-side hub cap and a black strip along the side.
Police released a picture of the vehicle asking for sightings
from the public in December. Mr Preston confirmed the car in
the photograph was his.
The night the body was discovered, he was arrested by about
30 police and armed offenders squad members, he said. He was
vigorously examined but no evidence linking him to the crime
was found, he said.
The past five months had been gruelling emotionally, he said
through tears, because he was unable to see his children,
aged 9 and 7.
"As distraught as I am about my ex-wife, it's the kids [that
matter]. There's nothing I can do anymore about my wife, I
wasn't there to protect her. It's a husband's job to look
after his family and I failed in that sense. But I'm not
going to fail my children.
"I want to visit with my children. Even just a phone call.
Even just to stand across the road and wave. All I want is to
see my kids.'
Mr Preston said he was scheduled to fly out to China for a
month on Wednesday as he tried to get on with his life.
But as long as the murder remained unsolved, he would have it
hanging over his head, he said.
"At this rate, it's my unprofessional opinion that they're
never going to find the killer now. It's gone past the
all-important time. So this is my life until somehow they
figure this out."