Couple wanted by police

By Derek Cheng

Paul James Bennett, who also goes by the name of David Kite or Dennis Kite, and his wife Simone Anne Wright, also known as Sarah Kite. Photo supplied to the Herald on Sunday
Paul James Bennett, who also goes by the name of David Kite or Dennis Kite, and his wife Simone Anne Wright, also known as Sarah Kite. Photo supplied to the Herald on Sunday

A New Zealander who was once hired to be Hollywood star Russell Crowe's helicopter pilot - but was later found to be without a licence - is on the run from police.

Career fraudster Paul James Bennett, 54, and his wife Simone Anne Wright, 40, are wanted in relation to an ongoing fraud investigation involving a $250,000 rip-off of a Canterbury-based helicopter company.

Do you know more? Email us here.

"The pair use multiple aliases, and we do not know what identities they are currently travelling under, or where they are," Detective Sergeant Craig Farrant said.

"We urge them to come forward and contact us so that we can talk to them."

Bennett also goes by the names David Kite or Dennis Kite, and his wife is also known as Sarah Kite.

Bennett was born in Morrinsville, Waikato, and has a history of disappearing when police come knocking, both in New Zealand and overseas.

In 2003 he was hired as Crowe's helicopter pilot to fly him between Sydney and his Coffs Harbour estate in New South Wales.

Bennett lodged three loan applications as Crowe's pilot for almost $100,000, but police inquiries revealed that Bennett did not even have a pilot's licence.

He was indicted by Sydney police on six charges, but he disappeared and the case was never heard.

The owner of the helicopter company at the centre of the current police case, which has not been named, told Fairfax Media that Bennett was hired to find several helicopters and other parts overseas.

Bennett allegedly made up overpriced invoices and was reimbursed by the company, the owner said. The money was then transferred into an account in Nelson.

Bennett is believed to be driving a silver BMW.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Christchurch police on (03) 363 7400, or call anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 01 Nov 2014 01:55:24 Processing Time: 671ms