Dead woman listed as being wanted by police

By Amy McGillivray -
Helen Maree Meldrum's name was released in a list of wanted people -  even though she died six years ago.
Helen Maree Meldrum's name was released in a list of wanted people - even though she died six years ago.

Members of the family of a woman who has been dead for six years are devastated her name was released to media in a list of people wanted by police.

Former Waihi resident Helen Maree Meldrum died suddenly on November 23, 2007, at the age of 36 while living in Queensland, but her name was last week released to the Bay of Plenty Times by the Ministry of Justice in a list of people with arrest warrants dating back nine years or more.

Family members would not elaborate on the circumstances of her death.

The warrant was issued by the Waihi District Court for a breach of community work in 2004.

Waikato police communications manager Andrew McAlley also confirmed she was wanted and was believed to be residing in Queensland.
The Bay of Plenty Times learned of Ms Meldrum's death when a friend of hers contacted the paper this week.

Mother Joyce Meldrum, who lives in Australia, said it was upsetting to learn of the mistake as she had no idea her daughter had been wanted by the police.

"It's devastating," she said. "I'm quite upset. I didn't even know anything about it. She used to take in all these deadbeats that she felt sorry for and it got her in with the wrong crowd. She was a really lovely person. She just went astray for a few years. I'm really quite in shock."

Ms Meldrum moved to Australia about 2003, she said.

She was concerned Ms Meldrum's son, who still lives in the Bay of Plenty, and other family members in the Waikato would be upset if they read of it in the news.

Ms Meldrum's daughter, who lives in Queensland, did not know about the outstanding warrant either.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said she was still in the system because her death had not been registered with agencies in New Zealand.

"We regret any distress we caused the family," he said. "It simply is because she died outside the country."

The Ministry of Justice case management system was reconciled with the New Zealand births, deaths and marriages register to keep track of those with outstanding matters, he said.

A Department of Internal Affairs spokesman said a person's death, marriage or birth was generally registered in the country it occurred in regardless of their citizenship. That meant the death of a New Zealand citizen in Australia was unlikely to be recorded by authorities in New Zealand.

A police spokeswoman said police could not comment on the issue as the police role was to execute warrants issued by the courts and act on the information they provided.

History

2004 Arrest warrant issued for Helen Maree Meldrum in the Waihi District Court after she breached a community work order.

2007 Helen Maree Meldrum dies on November 23.

2013 Helen Maree Meldrum's name features in a list of wanted people released to the Bay of Plenty Times.

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