Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Taiaroa murder: Officer denies telling mother of admission

Quinton Winders became a focus for police after hearing he owned a blue Jeep Cherokee, a court heard this morning. Photo: Stephen Parker
Quinton Winders became a focus for police after hearing he owned a blue Jeep Cherokee, a court heard this morning. Photo: Stephen Parker

An officer has denied telling the mother of a murder-accused that her son had admitted murdering stop-go worker George Taiaroa.

Detective Sergeant Helen Beck told a jury in the High Court at Rotorua today she would "never say that" to somebody.

Beck took to the stand on day 10 of Quinton Winders' trial for the murder of Taiaroa on March 19, 2013.

Defence counsel Jonathan Temm read Beck's statement to her in which she had written "when police spoke to Quin [sic] on April 4 last month he didn't deny killing George, can you explain why Quinton wouldn't deny this?"

To which Janet Winders responded, "I just can't believe what you are telling me".

"Obviously it's a question that I asked and yeah," Beck replied, "I don't actually recall the question or the question around it. That is a question that is on the statement."

After further questioning, Beck also admitted she had not interviewed Winders or watched any video interviews at that point.

Temm said Winders had, in a video interview, denied killing Taiaroa and
suggested police had a "strategy" to "put pressure on the entire Winders' family".

"It's normal practice to speak with family members," Beck said. "I'm not aware of any strategy. It's standard practice."

Temm also questioned Beck about the search warrant carried out at the Winders' family home on the outskirts of Rotorua involving armed offenders squad members.

Beck said she wasn't there at the time but was involved in speaking with his mother, Janet, at the police station in Rotorua after he had been arrested.

Beck added that Janet Winders "wasn't surprised" police had searched their home.

Temm also put to Beck that police began focusing intensely on Winders and his family, on April 1, 2013, after receiving information that he owned a blue Jeep Cherokee.

He also added the police STG, or Special Tactics Group, was also deployed from the same day to carry out secret observations of Winders' rural and remote Pohokura farm in Taranaki.

Beck replied she had no idea what the STG was and at that stage had no idea what they were tasked to do.

The trial continues.

- NZ Herald

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