Tony Veitch and wife separate

By Carolyne Meng-Yee

Broadcaster Veitch and his wife Zoe Halford are understood to be apart, following the couple's harrowing 12 months.

The pair, who married in February last year, were plunged into a media maelstrom five months later, with allegations that Veitch had assaulted his former partner, Kristin Dunne-Powell.

The allegations led to a major police investigation and Veitch resigned from his presenting roles at TVNZ and Radio Sport.

In April, Veitch pleaded guilty to injuring Dunne-Powell with reckless disregard. Other assault charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain.

Veitch and Halford are understood to be living apart, with Veitch currently overseas on holiday.

Veitch, who has been seen socialising with friends in Ponsonby in recent weeks, has refused to comment on his marriage and Halford could not be contacted yesterday.

It is unclear whether the pair are considering it a trial separation.

Veitch's former colleague Brendan Telfer said last night he had heard rumours. "All I can say is that if it is true, it is desperately sad and I certainly feel for both of them because they have been through the wringer over the past few months. I just hope both of them can find the strength to rebuild their lives and restart their lives.

I wish them both well, and their families. It does hurt when I think about it and it appears to be true. It's just so sad."

The couple, who married at Halford's lakeside family home in Queenstown, remained strong for much of the past 12 months. Halford stood alongside her husband at an early press conference at which he said he had "lashed out" at Dunne-Powell.

After his conviction in April, Veitch said he felt "incredibly guilty" at what he had put his wife and family through. "I am going to have to ask my wife to be attracted to me again," he said. "I can't wait to be a daddy and that will be the greatest thrill and hopefully that will happen.

"But we need to just get back on track and we need to sort this out. I am not asking the public to have any sympathy for me. I have never once said I want people to feel sorry for me.

"I have lost my income, I have lost my job, I have lost my house, I have paid enormous legal fees ...

"We thought about our life together and starting having children, and instead, in that first year of our marriage, it was an absolute nightmare."

Friends and family became increasingly worried about Veitch's health and wellbeing after the allegations first arose. Police were called on several occasions to search for him.

Zoe Halford told a newspaper last year that the couple committed to each other in a "wonderful few days" at the Queenstown Winter Festival in 2006. They became engaged while on holiday in Byron Bay in January 2007 and moved in together shortly afterwards.

News of the separation comes as the Independent Police Conduct Authority continues to investigate a complaint from Veitch about various aspects of the police inquiry.

It is understood the authority is close to releasing its findings to Veitch, but is not planning to do so publicly.

The Herald on Sunday revealed in March that Veitch had laid a complaint about the family member of one detective allegedly abusing him in the street.

He has also complained about a voice message a police officer accidentally left on his phone, about a detective's personal links to Dunne-Powell, and about a delay in receiving certain evidence from the prosecution.

- Herald on Sunday

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