Cold-case accuser sees no need to say sorry

By Katee Shanks of the Daily Post -
The Mona Blades case remains open and will continue to be assessed.  Photo / Supplied
The Mona Blades case remains open and will continue to be assessed. Photo / Supplied

Kawerau man Tony Moller, who has linked the name of a dead traffic officer to two of New Zealand's highest-profile cold cases, believes he has nothing to apologise for.

Pauline Barratt, an Auckland lawyer and the daughter of the late former traffic officer Derrick Hinton says his "unfounded'' allegations have caused distress.

Mr Moller has said Mr Hinton was linked to the disappearance of Mona Blades in 1975 and the cold case of 13-year-old Tracey Ann Patient, whose body was found in bush in the Waitakere Ranges in January 1976.

"I have passed on information to the police but they were the ones who made the decision to look further into the matter,'' Mr Moller said.

"I have always been conscious of the feelings of Derrick Hinton's family but what I have done has been for the victims who have disappeared and for their loved ones.''

Mr Moller said he would not make any further comments about either case or about Mrs Barratt's demands for a public apology and admitted he had not yet seen a website she established to "set the record straight''.

Mrs Barratt told The Daily Post the distress, anger and bitterness Mr Moller had caused her family had been immense.

"We [the family] have been hearing the stories for years now,'' she said. "I've spoken to Tony myself and asked him to back off but enough is enough.''

She said all she wanted to do was clear her dead father's name.

She has set up a website as a result of the media attention given to the excavation in January of her former family home in Kawerau - built by her father.

"It is easy to defame the dead and less easy to put the record straight, we are endeavouring to do so by making public the detail of the allegations made _ and why they are all baseless,'' Mrs Barratt said about the website, TonyBaloney.co.nz.

In the website, Mrs Barratt provides her own evidence to rebut allegations Mr Moller has made via correspondence with Bay of Plenty field crime manager Detective Inspector Mark Loper.

She also dismisses several other allegations she says Mr Moller has been talking about for years.

Included are a number of emails, one alleging that in 1970 Mr Hinton was seen with another unidentified man dumping a "large black polythene article, into a hole in Mr Hinton's property''.

In her website, Mrs Barratt provides a photograph showing the concrete floor of the laundry, the floor excavated in January, that had been poured before Mona Blades had disappeared.

"What next Tony?'' Mrs Barratt asks on the website.

"If you try hard enough, maybe you can prove dad was Jack the Ripper too.''

In an open letter addressed to Mr Moller on the website, Mrs Barratt asks if he has any sense at all of just how much distress and anger his "unfounded and persistent'' accusations have caused the family.

She offers Mr Moller the chance to publicly apologise to the family and retract all allegations against her father.

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