Death 'shocks' neighbourhood

By Kathryn King of the Wanganui Chronicle -
The area of Campbell St was blocked off while police investigated. Photo / Wanganui Chronicle
The area of Campbell St was blocked off while police investigated. Photo / Wanganui Chronicle

Whanganui police are appealing for information on any suspicious behaviour at the Ingestre St end of Campbell St after the body of an elderly man was found yesterday.

A homicide investigation has been launched and part of Campbell St between Guyton and Ingestre streets was cordoned off after the man's body was found about 8.30am.

Whanganui CIB Detective Sergeant Dave Kirby said police were alerted to the body by a phone call but he could not give any further detail.

A neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said the man had only moved into the house, part of a block of semi-detached homes, about a month ago.

She described him as a tall European man with short grey hair, possibly in his 60s or 70s, but may have been older.

She had exchanged greetings with him a few weeks ago and used to see him driving his car, a navy blue Jaguar, quite often.

She was not aware of the police presence in her street until she came home from work and was asked to give a statement.

"Poor man, it makes me feel scared and unsafe," she said.

"It's usually quiet this area, it's shocking."

A resident of nearby Ingestre St, who also did not want to be identified, said she heard a loud bang coming from the flats as she was trying to get to sleep on Wednesday night.

"It sounded quite near, like wood banging on something, just an upsetting noise because I got up to see if I could see anything but I couldn't," she said.

Other neighbours in the area the Chronicle spoke to said police were stopping people as they went to leave the cordon, but many were in the dark as to what was happening.

Having seen an ambulance come through and the police cordon go up, some had gone out to speak to officers standing outside their homes, but police had remained tight-lipped.

"I'm mystified," one woman said.

Environmental Science and Research forensics officers were at the address late yesterday afternoon, taking pictures inside the man's house, of his car and of the pathway to his front door.

The man's body was still in the house and was not expected to be removed until all forensic investigations had finished.

Mr Kirby said fingerprinting experts were expected to be at the scene today and the cordon was likely to be in place for the next day or two. He was not expecting the man's name to be released until later today, as his family were still being notified.

They were still gathering information, including formally identifying the victim and trying to piece together the activities that led to his death, Mr Kirby said.

Police would like to hear from anyone with information regarding any suspicious behaviour over the 24 hours leading up to the man's body being found.

Call police on (06) 349 0600 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers 0800 555 111

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