Murder charge after death in Nelson

Police have been investigating the death of Whiti Barton. Supplied photo
Police have been investigating the death of Whiti Barton. Supplied photo
Nelson police have charged a man with murdering James Whitikau Barton and have credited tips from the public for leading to the charge.

Barton, 48, died after he was allegedly assaulted on Orchard St, Stoke, on the evening of Friday, November 10.

The New Zealand Herald understands Barton was a member of the Mongrel Mob gang.

Police charged a 33-year-old man with his murder this morning.

He was due to appear in the Nelson District Court on December 1.

Detective Inspector Lex Bruning thanked the public for helping with the investigation.

“The information we received was valuable in piecing together what happened on the night Mr Whitikau died and enabled us to come to this result,” Bruning said.

Police earlier appealed for any sightings of a white BMW believed to have been linked to the homicide, and with the public’s help, found it a week after the incident.

Bruning earlier said there were people who knew what happened that evening, as well as the motive behind the incident.

He had been urging them to “do the right thing” and tell police what they knew: “The family are grieving and deserve answers.”

Barton’s family and friends have posted about his death on social media, sharing a photograph of him with their tributes.

‘Taken too soon’ 

Police were called to the address at 7pm, November 10, and found Barton, known as Whiti, with critical injuries.

He was rushed to hospital and died soon after.

Bruning said he believed the people involved in the assault were known to Barton.

A scene examination at the Orchard St property was completed over the weekend following his death and a second address in Motueka was also being combed by forensic teams the following Monday.

His family said: “We appreciate every single one of you who have sent messages of love and support.”

“Rest in love our brother dogg ... and thank you for all you ever done for them and us,” she said.

Others close to Barton said his death was “so sad” and they were “shattered” by the news.

“Taken way too soon — just shows life is too short,” said a family member.