Hit and run case: Jogger remembered as great sportswoman

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Anne McCullough (left) was an upbeat, community-minded person, according to a long-time friend. Photo / Supplied
Anne McCullough (left) was an upbeat, community-minded person, according to a long-time friend. Photo / Supplied

Hanging out in their "cave" last week, Jeff McCullough turned to his wife of 19 years and told her how beautiful she was.

It was just one of many memories Mr McCullough recalled at the funeral of his wife Anne, who was killed while out jogging last weekend.

The 45-year-old keen sportswoman from Taranaki was remembered today by family and friends as someone who was always laughing.

About 500 people turned out for the funeral of Mrs McCullough, known to everyone as Annie, at the Taranaki Crematorium in New Plymouth, with many having to listen to the service from outside the packed chapel.

Mr McCullough told the service how in 1987 at a party at his flat, the pair met for the first time with him dressed in a miniskirt.

"I remember Annie even helped me do up my bra."

"We made a connection that night and we didn't stop talking for 25 years."

The pair were married in 1993, and when they were told they could kiss after confirming their vows, instead of that they turned to each other and did a high-five.

Mr McCullough said his wife was his best friend who had a great sense of humour which just got better with time.

"We had lots of fun together."

"Only once in a life time a woman like you comes along," he said.

Just last week the pair were sitting in a shed out the back of their property - their "cave" - hanging out, as they often would, Mr McCullough told his wife she was "the most beautiful woman I have ever seen".

Mrs McCullough's son, Ollie, 16, said his mother was a "wonderful, energetic, kind" woman.

She was a great baker, who would always be creating something to take to work - colleagues also remembered her "legendary" carrot cake.

But it would often make her run late as she baked until the last minute, Ollie said.

He told mourners they needed to forget the reason they were all there, and instead remember the times before that.

"Even though her injuries were deep, rest assured she never felt them."

Mrs McCullough disappeared while jogging near Frankley Rd, New Plymouth last Saturday.

Her body was found later that day, about 10km away in the back seat of an abandoned car, near a place known as Meeting of the Waters.

The reason for her death was not dwelt on at her funeral, instead she was remembered as a great sportswoman who tried her hand at many different sports throughout her life.

She was a particularly keen netball player, and played on the same team as her daughter, Grace, 23.

But Mrs McCullough used to joke that she wished she was a man, so she could drink beers with the boys, and play rugby, the service was told.

Her friend of 25 years, Maree Sutton, said Mrs McCullough loved the fact she had the same knee injury as former All Black Michael Jones.

Her father, Ike Flavell, played rugby for Taranaki and her father-in-law was John McCullough, a former All Black.

Local man Matthew Kinghorn has been charged with Mrs McCullough's murder and will reappear in court next month.

- APNZ

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