Veitch's wife strikes back

By Jane Phare

The wife of Tony Veitch says she has lived with the shadow of Kristin Dunne-Powell hanging over her the entire time she has known her husband.

Zoe Veitch, 27, said her husband's former partner, Dunne-Powell, had had a "hold over us for the majority of our relationship".

Speaking publicly for the first time, Veitch told the Herald on Sunday yesterday that Dunne-Powell appeared to react each time she saw Tony Veitch or the couple together, or if they were photographed socially.

"There was always something from her within a couple of days. It was always very reactionary."

Veitch said that she had hoped once Dunne-Powell was married "she wouldn't be bothering us so much". "I've always said to Tony that if she is happy in her own marriage she will leave us alone."

Her husband and Dunne-Powell had kept in touch through emails and texts after the alleged incident in January 2006 for which Veitch is under police investigation.

"It was always civil, you know, she was always there," Veitch said, something she found "frustrating" at times.

"But we were always very honest and open about it and that's the key."

Veitch said some of the emails from Dunne-Powell indicated she regretted the end of the relationship.

Police are expected to lay charges against Tony Veitch tomorrow after searching his Herne Bay home on Friday. Detectives spent three-and-a-half hours searching the house.

The scale of the police inquiry have shocked the couple.

"We just don't know where they are going with this. It leads us to believe they are investigating a lot more than just one night," Veitch said.

The house search was "horrible". Police had gone through "every room, every drawer. I just cannot believe it has got to this. It is mind blowing".

Police were looking for any connections between her husband and Dunne-Powell, she said.

The police took away Tony Veitch's computer hard drive and mobile phone, her laptop and her sister's laptop, and paperwork including phone and power bills. A detective went through her cellphone at the house but left it with her.

Veitch said the extradordinary lengths the police had gone to made her "feel ill".

Veitch said she was shocked to see TV3 current affairs host John Campbell turn up with a TV crew shortly after the police arrived, and she had asked one of the detectives how they knew. "He fumbled a bit and suggested it could have been neighbours, which is ridiculous."

Veitch said she was worried her husband would not be given "a fair go" by the police.

"It's almost like we've got two things to worry about, the media trial and the police. They actually impact on each other hugely, which is scary, and it's not fair on Tony."

She was at a loss to explain the intensity of the police scrutiny other than her husband's high media profile. "There's going to be a lot of people out there praying to God that none of their personal issues come to light like this. It's completely and utterly unfair."

It was last October, on the day when the broadcaster, 34, was due to fly out to France of the Rugby World Cup, that a letter arrived from Dunne-Powell's lawyer asking him for a payment of $127,000 in compensation and to cover lost earnings.

By early December 2007 the amount had "ballooned" to $150,000 and was non-negotiable, said Veitch. The new demand arrived within days of photographs of Tony Veitch and his St Heliers home featuring in the Herald Homes liftout and a photo of the couple, taken at the Qantas Media Awards, being published in social pages. The tone of the final letter was "this is it or else", she said.

She and Veitch, their lawyer and her family "sat round the table" to discuss what to do.

"It was within weeks of our wedding, and we had friends and family coming from all over the world. We did what we thought was the right thing at the time. In hindsight, maybe if we hadn't given in at that stage, you know, we may be in a different situation now, I don't know."

Veitch is unsure why Dunne-Powell laid a complaint two-and-a-half years after the incident but assumes her husband's former partner has not let go of the relationship.

But if the motive had been to drive a wedge between her and her husband, it has had "the reverse effect".

"I love Tony more than anything in the whole wide world, and if anything, it has made us stronger as husband and wife.

"We just hope that the truth will come out eventually."

The couple met in the middle of 2006 through mutual friends and she describes her husband as "a very top, top guy".

Tony had told her about the incident with Dunne-Powell shortly after they began seeing each other.

Veitch said she had "a fair idea" what happened that night. She said there had never been any sign of temper or violence in their relationship.

The past 50-odd days had taken its toll on her husband, she said. He had lost weight, had not been sleeping and his hair was falling out.

Panic attacks, during which he sweated and shook, occurred regularly.

"There is not a good night's sleep. Quite often he will shower at least three times during the night. His whole life has been torn apart."

In the meantime, the couple's lives, and plans for the future, are on hold "and will be for some time now".

Despite the strain, Veitch - whom her husband describes as his "rock" - said she was in for the long haul.

"We will be there to the very last day to get the truth out there, and the result that is deserved. We are going to fight to the end."

- Herald on Sunday

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