A family is grief-stricken after a woman was found dead at her home and her estranged husband taken into police custody with a cut throat - a violent end to more than 20 years together.
A homicide inquiry team will today continue a scene examination of the Campbell St home in Havelock North where the body of the 48-year-old was found alone on Friday night. Police will also return to the nearby Keirunga Rd home of her ex-partner who was found in a critical condition by armed officers - and examine a vehicle he was seen driving.
Last night, David Bower confirmed his only daughter, Gail, was the dead woman.
He told the Herald on Sunday that she was second in charge at the Havelock North ANZ. But she was also dealing with relationship issues and was going through a divorce.
Gail's elderly father said yesterday's violence was not the first time for his daughter.
"That's why she wanted to break away." he said.
Bower said he last saw his daughter last weekend. "She always came around Sunday to give me some money for my groceries."
Today, he will be waiting for the police to release her body after she was taken to Palmerston North for a post-mortem examination.
Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Foster said police, who have not released the names, weren't looking for anyone else and were waiting to talk to the injured man.
"He hasn't been interviewed yet but will be when he's lucid and fit enough to talk. He underwent surgery at Hawke's Bay Hospital before being airlifted under police guard to Hutt Hospital. He's in a stable condition nursing a throat and arm injury."
Foster said a large number of friends and family had been interviewed. He said their two sons, believed to be in their early 20s, were distraught.
Foster confirmed the couple had separated several months ago after many years together.
Police are appealing to the public for any further sightings of the vehicle, a blue RAV4, on or around Campbell St and Keirunga Rd on Friday between 5pm and 9pm.
National MP Craig Foss was among other parents watching children's netball in Campbell St yesterday morning as 20 detectives and ESR staff investigated the homicide nearby.
"It was an absolute shock because it was in the same street as the kids play netball and a lot of people passed the house," he said.
"My thoughts are with the entire Havelock North Village in this difficult time.
"Any violence, behind closed doors or otherwise, is an enormous tragedy."
Women told to get help
A manager with the Hastings Women's Refuge says the early stages of a break-up are the most dangerous for women.
"It's always sad when there's a death from domestic violence and, unfortunately, another mum has paid the price," said Julie Hart last night.
She said the family will be hit hard.
"For the children it's the double whammy. Under normal circumstances you would have the other parent to support you through and they don't have that privilege."
Hart said women and their families need to be on guard when a woman first leaves a relationship and urges women living in fear to apply for a protection order.
"Although they are only a piece of paper, it gives police greater powers to act."
• Helpline: 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843