Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Man who ran over wife wasn't driving recklessly, coroner says

Denise Robinson-Winskill died at her home in Canterbury after she was run over by her husband. Photo / Supplied
Denise Robinson-Winskill died at her home in Canterbury after she was run over by her husband. Photo / Supplied

A coroner has found no evidence to support claims that a husband ran over and killed his Christchurch schoolteacher wife deliberately or recklessly.

Jon Winskill was backing a Toyota Landcruiser work ute when he struck Denise Mary Robinson-Winskill, 58, at their Canterbury lifestyle block, on October 23, 2013.

After the "bump" of running her over, he then drove forward over her body again.

She was found dead at the scene.

Just weeks later, he was back on a dating website and seeing other women, an inquest into mother-of-three Robinson-Winskill's death previously heard.

Winskill had also just months earlier confessed to being blackmailed over an affair with another woman.

Police initially treated the death as a homicide.

But in his findings released to the Herald, Coroner David Crerar found no evidence to suggest foul play.

He gave "little weight" to "some of the unsupported comments of witnesses who alleged deliberate intentions on the part of Jon Winskill".

Denise Mary Robinson-Winskill. Photo / Supplied
Denise Mary Robinson-Winskill. Photo / Supplied

The coroner said Winskill's view while reversing was limited. It was blocked by the tanks and pumps on the back of his ute, and he had to rely on his mirror.

Evidence consensus also said it was likely that his ute was being reversed at a speed of between 3.6km/h and 5km/h, described by witnesses as being a "slow walking speed".

"Reversing at this speed would not carry with it an implication that such driving would be reckless," Coroner Crerar said.

The coroner, who stressed that it is not his role to determine criminal liability, said he was able to come to a finding based on the evidence, that Robinson-Winskill died of "haemo-pneumothorax and multiple fractured ribs consistent with crush injury to the chest".

However, he concluded there were six questions that he could not find answers for, including how Robinson-Winskill did not hear or react to the backing ute; the origin of a bruise on the crown of her head; why her spectacles were found beside her and why one lens was found some distance away; why Winskill was not aware that his wife had been struck; why he, after becoming aware of a bump as he ran over Robinson-Winskill, did he chose to ignore it and drove forward over her prone body; and lastly, that there are, or may be, other questions which could arise from further enquiries.

He noted that if new information comes to light, a further inquiry could be opened by order of the Solicitor General of a High Court judge.

Coroner Crerar agreed with the family that the police probe "lacked vigour, timeliness and diligence".

He believed the police had sufficient time to conduct all necessary investigations and give consideration to laying any charges within the then available time limits.

Inspector Greg Murton of Canterbury Police asked the coroner to consider a recommendation to the Minister of Police and the Commissioner of Police for a legislative change to enlarge the time period of six months from the date of death within which a prosecution could be brought.

While Coroner Crerar acknowledged the difficulty encountered by police in the case, he declined to make the recommendation.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 07 Dec 2016 10:25:55 Processing Time: 1086ms