Three in court on murder charges

By Vicki Waterhouse, Sandra Conchie


Having just faced a man accused of murdering her stepson, Fiona Crawford appealed for anyone who knew the location of his body to "have the guts to come forward".
Mrs Crawford and her husband Dave, Darrell Crawford's father, have searched widely since Mr Crawford disappeared and have even consulted a psychic. They just want their son's body returned.
"Give us some closure.
"It's horrible knowing that he is lying out there somewhere. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," Mrs Crawford said.
A 50-year-old Te Puke man appeared in Tauranga District Court yesterday charged with the murder of Mr Crawford, 35, and also William Taikato, 40, of Welcome Bay.
Mr Crawford and Mr Taikato knew each other casually and were involved with drugs and gangs.
Mr Crawford was last seen on August 12 last year at his Oropi Rd flat. His car was found at 1pm on August 13, parked off Mountain Rd with the keys in the ignition.
Mr Taikato was last seen on December 18. His green 1996 Holden Commodore, registration UF9688, has not been found and police are still seeking it.
Two men, one aged 33 from Welcome Bay, and the other a 41-year-old from Ohauiti, also appeared in court yesterday charged with the murder of Mr Taikato.
The three accused were granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody without pleas to reappear in Tauranga District Court on October 14.
Crown prosecutor Greg Hollister-Jones opposed name suppression.
He told Judge Louis Bidois that the high public interest outweighed the right to anonymity but, if granted, 24 hours was adequate time for the men to inform those who needed to know.
Defence counsel Glenn Dixon successfully argued that 24 hours was inadequate for the defendants to inform their next of kin and extended family.
Judge Bidois agreed to give the men until 5pm on Thursday when name suppression will be lifted.
Detective Sergeant Darryl Brazier, head of the two homicide investigations, dubbed Operation Orca and Operation Burd, was confident of more arrests.
Police have searched three different spots in rural Oropi for the bodies after receiving information but the searches came to nothing.
Dave Crawford said he was pleased police had charged someone with his son's murder.
"It's extremely good progress," he told the Bay of Plenty Times today.
"[It's] just to give you a start towards closure I suppose ...

it starts all over again now, that's the worst part of it, it's opening a lot of wounds again."
Mr Crawford was positive police would find the bodies of his son and Mr Taikato.
Detective Inspector Rob Jones said investigators would "dearly love to locate the bodies".
He said the Tauranga drug scene was central to inquiries into both cases.
There were also connections to two local gangs, the Mongrel Mob and the Greasy Dogs.
A $50,000 reward is still on offer for each case. with NZPA

- Bay of Plenty Times

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