Identity issue part of inquest of Dalu Mncube

The true identity of a big-cat handler mauled to death by a tiger at Whangarei's Zion Wildlife Gardens will not be made public before the completion of his inquest.

Northland coroner Brandt Shortland said the real identity of the man known as Dalu Mncube would form part of his inquest report.

A five-day inquest into Mr Mncube's death will begin in Whangarei on October 1.

The Zimbabwe-born animal handler was mauled to death by a tiger while cleaning its enclosure at Zion Wildlife Gardens in May 2009. The wildlife park rose to prominence around the world when it was featured in popular TV series The Lion Man.

A pre-inquest hearing in Whangarei in June heard that Mr Mncube was known by at least three other names. Police said Mr Mncube had used several names and came to New Zealand on a passport that was in his much-younger brother's name.

He was also known as Clifford Mncube, Dalubuhle Ncube and Darlington Tembo.

Immigration New Zealand believed it highly likely that Mr Mncube entered New Zealand on a false passport. Its investigation into concerns about Mr Mncube's identity closed when he died.

In a statement to police, former Zion operator Patricia Busch said her son Craig Busch knew about irregularities in Mr Mncube's passport before bringing him to New Zealand.

The inquest was initially set for June 12-14 but the pre-inquest into his true identity postponed that hearing.

- Northern Advocate

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