David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Crewe inquiry worries after eulogy

Bruce Hutton. Photo / NZ Herald
Bruce Hutton. Photo / NZ Herald

The police review into the 1970 Crewe murders has come under question even before its release after a strong show of police support at the funeral for one of those under inquiry.

Police formed an honour guard at the funeral of former Detective Inspector Bruce Hutton, which was officiated over by the police chaplain.

Mr Thomas' brother Des said he believed police support and a eulogy from Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush undermined a review into the case which is due to be released. At the funeral in Auckland on Friday, Mr Bush spoke of the "tragedy" of accusations made against Mr Hutton, who he said was known as having "integrity beyond reproach".

Mr Hutton led the police inquiry which saw Arthur Thomas convicted at two trials for the murders of the Crewes. He retired in 1976 as questions grew over the conviction, leading to Mr Thomas' pardon and the Royal Commission of Inquiry which found Mr Hutton and another officer planted a cartridge case used to get the conviction.

In 2010 the Crewe's daughter Rochelle asked police to find her parents' killers. She was supported by the Thomas family, who asked police to investigate Mr Hutton over planting evidence and other matters.

Des Thomas said his concerns over the direction of the police inquiry were compounded by the police support at the funeral and the support from Mr Bush.

"I think it's a disgrace," he said. "I just can't believe it."

Former MP and police Inspector Ross Meurant, who was criticised in eulogies, said the review had been undone by Mr Bush's praise for Mr Hutton.

A spokesman for police headquarters said comments at the funeral had no impact on the review.

- NZ Herald

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