Philippa Lynette Lindsay in the Queenstown District Court
in December. Photo by ODT.
Disgraced Queenstown postie Philippa Lynette Lindsay
began stealing mail the day her employment with NZ Post began,
a draft police summary of facts says.
Lindsay (32) will be sentenced on April 8 after yesterday
admitting in the Queenstown District Court theft by a person
in a special relationship between September 13, 2010, and
November 9, 2012.
At the time of her arrest, Lindsay said she had no
explanation and it was ''just stupidity on my part''.
She denied opening any items.
In all, police recovered 21,382 items - up on previous
estimates of about 17,000. Of the hoard, 1577 items had been
opened. Included in the haul were medical certificates;
letters scheduling appointments or advising of results; final
demands for bill payments, as well as invoices; certification
from educational institutes; invitations; birthday cards;
letters to young children from grandparents; and gifts.
The draft summary said Lindsay began her employment on
September 13, 2010, the same date as some of the recovered
mail was franked. Defence counsel Phena Byrne said Lindsay -
who was due to be committed for trial on Friday - wished to
enter a guilty plea to the indictably laid representative
The draft summary, parts of which had not been agreed on by
the defence, said Lindsay began her employment as a
contracted NZ Post worker in September 2010, with her duties
including helping to sort mail.
She was solely responsible for the delivery of mail to
Fernhill and was also involved with delivering mail to Lake
Hayes Estate and Arrowtown on a relieving basis.
The draft summary said the defendant had no authority to
retain or open any of the mail given into her trust for
''During the first year of her employment, there was an
average of one complaint per month from Fernhill reporting
undelivered mail, a figure which ... is reported by NZ Post
to be on average with the rest of the country.
''From August 2012 until the time of the defendant's arrest,
there were approximately 12 complaints of undelivered mail
each month. With a total of more than 100 complaints,
Fernhill, Queenstown, was identified by NZ Post as having the
worst record for non-delivered items in the country.''
In late August 2012, due to the significant increase in
complaints, NZ Post initiated an inquiry, resulting in a NZ
Post investigator meeting the defendant during her Fernhill
delivery on November 9 last year.
The investigator observed a ''significant'' amount of mail in
her vehicle, considered to be ''far in excess'' of what her
expected deliveries for the day should have been.
The draft summary said the investigator questioned Lindsay
and asked to examine the items in her vehicle.
''The defendant declined to allow the investigator to examine
the items and drove off.''
Lindsay later agreed to meet the investigator at the
Queenstown NZ Post mail sorting centre and handed over a
portion of the mail seen by the investigator, but denied
there had been any more than what she had surrendered.
''Police were called and the defendant was subsequently
Police then searched Lindsay's home, her car, a house in
Arrowtown, a storage shed in Arrowtown and a car park area at
the base of Coronet Peak.
Substantial quantities from Lindsay's assigned run were found
in each location.
Further mail was discovered in the bush area between the
defendant's then home address and the Frankton Track, and
some items of mail recovered had been partially shredded.
The total cost to NZ Post was to be finalised.
Lindsay was remanded by Judge Turner to reappear for
sentencing in the Queenstown District Court on April 8.
He sought a pre-sentence report to address community and home
detention, but warned it was no indication of the sentence,
with the maximum penalty seven years imprisonment.
- Additional reporting: Ryan Keen, Mountain Scene