Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Police appeal for help in hunt for alleged killer

Arrest warrant issued for 'distinctive-looking' suspect who may be in Featherston area.

Justin Turner.
Justin Turner.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for a man alleged to have murdered homeless Auckland man Maqbool Hussain - but need the public to help track him down.

Justin Vance Turner was on bail when Mr Hussain died, after being arrested for breaching his prison release conditions.

Police initially said Turner was a "person of interest" and could hold vital information.

But last night Detective Inspector Chris Cahill said a warrant had been issued to arrest Turner for the 49-year-old's murder.

Turner had fled Auckland, and Mr Cahill said it was possible he was as far south as Featherston on Friday night and Saturday morning.

Maqbool Hussain.
Maqbool Hussain.

"A man possibly fitting Justin Turner's description, albeit he was clean shaven, was offered and availed himself of accommodation at the rear of a private property in the town," he said.

"A local man had found this person sitting in the main street so he offered the stranger a bed in his unused house bus for the night. He was last seen walking north out of Featherston at about 7am Saturday morning.

"We are urging motorists, business and transport operators throughout the North Island and possibly further south to be aware of Justin Turner's description and image and to contact police immediately if he is seen or encountered.

"Turner should not be approached. Anyone who thinks they have given him a ride, food or accommodation in the past week should contact the investigation team."

Relatives of Mr Hussain found him dead in a garage behind a vacant shop on Dominion Rd on March 24.

He had been living in the garage for about a year before his death, which could have happened any time in the two days before he was found.

"Maqbool Hussain died a terrible death that no person should be subjected to," Mr Cahill said. "A man that had fallen on hard times has had his life very cruelly stolen from him and we need to find the person responsible.

"That anyone could attack a person like this is just appalling and we need the public to show their disgust by helpingus."

Mr Cahill said Turner was "quite distinctive looking".

It was likely Turner has changed his appearance by shaving since the police photograph was taken.

He has a tattoo on his neck of a dog wearing a spiked collar, a prominent nose and "noticeably" olive skin with bushy eyebrows. Turner is about 176cm in height and of medium build.

Mr Hussain was born and raised in Pakistan but had lived in New Zealand since 1992. He is survived by his daughter, who lives overseas. It is understood his ex-wife is living in Samoa.

Can you help?

If you know where Justin Turner is, or have any information about the death of Maqbool Hussain, call 111. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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