Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Stop-go murder trial: Accused described as 'a bit more Mission Bay than Whangamomona'

Quinton Winders is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua. Photo / Alan Gibson
Quinton Winders is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua. Photo / Alan Gibson

Murder-accused Quinton Winders has been described as "a bit more Mission Bay than Whangamomona" by a witness who had regular dealings with him.

Stratford Caltex customer service representative Karen Royle said she always recognised Winders - who is on trial in the High Court at Rotorua charged with the murder of stop-go worker George Taiaroa - as he was clean and always wore the same clothes: a dark blue sweater with a "lodge logo on the front", dark blue jeans and "boatman shoes".

Royle said he was very polite and particular about the way he dressed and was always clean, unlike most farmers.

Winders' lawyer Jonathan Temm said in Royle's statement to police, she described him as a "bit more Mission Bay than Whangamomona".

"Yes," she replied. "It's just that upper class look, [hair] straight to the ear ... most farmers are scraggly and smell bad and wear red bands [gumboots]."

During questioning from crown prosecutor Christopher Macklin, Royle said Winders was also very particular about the way he swiped his Eftpos card - by holding the card lengthwise with his thumb and middle finger before swiping it "very, very slowly" through the machine.

Royle was asked to give evidence after she identified him in CCTV footage from the day Taiaroa was shot, filling up at the petrol station.

"In doing so I thought 'I don't know who this person was, he was wearing a baseball cap and then as I watched it I noticed how he swiped the plastic card through the rear and I thought, 'I know this person'."

Royle said Winders was a semi-regular customer but she didn't recognise him initially as he wasn't wearing his usual blue attire.

"I always knew what he drove and he always wore the same clothes and then I saw him in the footage and I thought 'He's not wearing his normal clothes'."

He was instead wearing a baseball cap, "he never wore hats", "a cream-coloured shirt with fine brown cladding checks on it and cream-coloured trousers".

Royle said he was "always pleasant, and he would normally be quite chatty and drive a blue Jeep Cherokee with army style jury cans, I think 20l each and sometimes he would have two of those."

She described Winders as about 5 foot 3 inches, with "darkish hair, maybe a few blonde tints, normally like a Remuera-style haircut, he had that upper class look ... very stylish."

She also recalled a time when Winders turned up at the service station driving a black Lotus and later discovered it was because his Cherokee was getting repaired.

Royle was one of four witnesses to the take the stand today.

Earlier, Detective Roger Whale told the jury of seven women and five men how he had examined Taumarunui's CCTV footage in the town and discovered Winders' vehicle heading east along the main street, State Highway 4.

Auckland forensic scientist Dr Ian Calhaem also gave evidence about how he helped police come to their conclusions about several fleeting sightings of a vehicle very similar to Winders as it drove through Taumarunui.

Sergeant Paul Dowie also testified about his role in gathering the town's CCTV footage for analysis.

The trial continues.

- NZ Herald

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