Pawn shop victims named, arrest made

The employer and staff member who were violently killed in a South Auckland pawn store yesterday have been named by police.

The pair have not yet been formally identified, but they are believed to be the store's owner Paul Fanning, 69 and employee Paul Matthews, 47.

At a press conference today Detective Inspector Dave Lynch said police had also found an "item of interest", which would undergo a forensic examination.

He would not say what the item was, but said it was a "sharp object".

Police were called to the Ezy Cash loan store in Great South Rd, Takanini, at 1.10pm after a panic alarm activation. They found two people dead at the back of the premises.

Police would not reveal how the pair were killed, but said they died "violently".

A 25-year-old man has been arrested and charged with two counts of murder and will appear in Papakura District Court tomorrow.

The man and a woman, who were a couple, were believed to have been seen leaving the premises just before police arrived on the scene.

The woman, who was believed to have been driving the pair's get-away vehicle, was being treated as a witness and was helping police with their investigation, Mr Lynch said.

The arrested man was captured in Huntly about midnight.

Police had been given an "address of interest", but just before they arrived, the man left in his Silver 2003 Mitsubishi Colt Hatchback.

"He did drive in the direction of the Huntly police station and his vehicle was stopped there and he effectively surrendered himself and was taken into police custody at that stage without incident."

It was not clear if the man was intending to hand himself into authorities, Mr Lynch said.

The bodies of the victims were still at the store, but were expected to be removed later today.

Post mortem examinations would be carried out either today or tomorrow.

A scene investigation was being conducted and was expected to be completed in a couple of days, Mr Lynch said.

Meanwhile, the road outside the shop had reopened.

Police still did not know if anything was taken from the shop, but there was no indication the incident was part of a robbery.

The woman knew both the victims, but it was not yet known if her partner knew them as well, Mr Lynch said.

He would not comment on why the woman was not facing charges.

"She's assisting us with our inquiries and once we've got a fuller picture on what's occurred then certainly we'll make any relevant decisions (about further charges)."

Police were not looking for anybody else in connection to the deaths.

But they were seeking further help from the public in relation to the Mitsubishi that was driven by the pair in order to establish the route they drove to get to Huntly.

The car was believed to have travelled from Takanini out to the Avondale region, possibly stopping at the Avondale Racecourse and then to Papakura and then Huntly, Mr Lynch said.

Whilst in Auckland it had a large For Sale sticker on the rear window, which had been removed by the time it reached Huntly.

Police were also looking for a brown coloured 'Dickies' hooded top that may have been discarded around the Avondale racecourse, Mr Lynch said.

The top was likely to have visible blood upon it and should not be touched.

"It is market day there today and there is going to be a lot of people there but we are asking them to keep their eyes out and if they do see such an item to ring 111 and leave it undisturbed."

Anyone with information should call Counties Manukau police on (09) 261 1300 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

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