Dramatic spike in homicide inquiries

A dramatic spike in violent crimes around the country has seen police launch 13 homicide enquiries in the past month.

From Kaitaia in the far north to Oamaru in Otago, 10 suspected murders or manslaughters have been hit. Detectives have also launched homicide inquiries in three cold cases.

Four suspected murders in three days have more than 100 police officers across the country working on them.

Charges have also been laid in three other attempted murder cases.

But police are denying their resources are being stretched.

"The individual police districts are well resourced and staffed," a Police National Headquarters spokesman said.

"People are trained and experienced in dealing with these matters and dealing with them in a way that's as efficiently and as quickly as possible."

There was no pattern to when and where murders would take place, he added.

"Sometimes you'll get a spate and other times there'll be nothing, they depend on the individual circumstances of the people involved.

Canterbury University criminologist Greg Breetzke said the high number of homicides in such a short time was "highly unusual".

He said it could partly be blamed on the warm winter the country has been experiencing - with more crimes committed in the warmer months.

"In warmer months you're more likely to be drinking and socialising, and the one kind of thing you want for that crime to occur is for two people to interact and the more interaction, the more likelihood there will be for a crime occuring."

There were 42 murders last year, and 39 the year before.

Over the past 10 years, there has been an average of just over 55 murders per year.

Recent murders

Sept 13 - Rangiora man Tony Lochhead was killed and his brother injured after an altercation at their home on White Street.

Sept 12 - Edward Tahakura was found dead on Otaki Beach. A 24-year-old man has been charged in relation to the homicide.

Sept 11 - Otago farmer Justin McFarlane was found dead in his Elderslie home. An 18-year-old has been charged with the murder.

Sept 11 - A woman was stabbed to death and her husband critically injured when they were attacked in their West Auckland home. A 34-year-old has been charged with murder and attempted murder.

Sept 5 - Taranaki man Desroe Bishop was fatally stabbed at his property in Opunake. A 33-year-old has been charged with his murder.

Sept 4 - Homeless man Steven Harris was killed in Myers Park in central Auckland. A 49-year-old has been arrested and charged with his murder.

Aug 25 - Glenys Stanton and Travor Waite were fatally shot at Mr Waite's Opaheke home. A former friend of Stanton, John Mowatt, who police wanted to speak with in connection with the deaths, shot himself days later.

August 21 Georgina Manuel was run over in Kaitaia. A 45-year-old plasterer, Viliami One Fungavaka has been charged with murder.

August 18 - Israel Jack dies after being run over while walking home in Rotorua. Police are treating the incident as suspicious.

Attempted murders

Sept 13 - Two men were critically injured after being shot in Kawerau. Three people have appeared in court charged with the shooting.

Sept 7 - Sergeant Simon Tate was punched, kicked and had his head stomped after stopping a vehicle in Otara. A 36-year-old has been charged with attempted murder.

Sept 2 - Police have charged a woman with attempted murder after her 3-week-old baby was critically injured in Invercargill.

Cold case homicide inquiries

Simon Garrick, 42, of Central Otago - has not been seen since October 2012 and police now believe he is dead.

Leo Lipp-Neighbours - a tip-off from the public has led police to believe "another person's actions" resulted in the Nelson teenager's disappearance in 2010.

Do Trieu - a homicide investigation was launched last week after police received a new lead in the Wellington taxi driver's 2008 disappearance.


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