Stephanie is a senior reporter for the Rotorua Daily Post.

Stop-go murder trial: Detective quizzed on interview

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Quinton Paul Winders
Quinton Paul Winders

A detective has denied claims she suggested to Quinton Winders' sister that he had confessed to killing George Taiaroa.

Detective Claire Rogers gave evidence yesterday in the trial of Winders, the man facing a murder charge for the shooting of Mr Taiaroa, a stop-go worker, in 2013.

Defence counsel Jonathan Temm asked Ms Rogers about an interview she conducted in Auckland with the accused's sister as part of the investigation.

Ms Rogers consulted her work notebook for the details of the interview and noted one of the responses from the sister was "He is a great guy, great with the kids, I don't believe it".

Mr Temm stated the comment "I don't believe it" was in response to Ms Rogers suggesting Winders had confessed.

But Ms Rogers said that was not the case.

Mr Temm also asked her about questioning the Taranaki branch of the Deerstalkers' Association and a subsequent questionnaire that was sent to its members about Winders.

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Ms Rogers agreed she had approached the association about Winders but had no knowledge of the questionnaire.

Earlier that day, Mr Temm questioned Detective Sergeant Miriam Reddington about a Jeep Cherokee found at the Taupo address of a man with Mongrel Mob connections.

Ms Reddington and another officer went to the address in 2013 as part of the investigation and discovered the vehicle in the driveway.

When asked about the colour and shape of the Cherokee, Ms Reddington said it was "somewhat green" and agreed it had a flat back and no spare wheel.

Going on to discuss the number plate, Mr Temm pointed out that it was crooked and did not appear to be "standard issue".

"To my eye it doesn't look like a New Zealand Transport Agency standard issue number plate ... It looks like someone's made up a replacement for something that was not there before."

Ms Reddington only agreed that it did not look like a standard transport issue number plate.

Other witnesses included Winders' neighbours, Aaron and Amanda Harris, New Plymouth panelbeater Kevin Davis and Ken Findlay, a Farmlands manager.

Mr and Mrs Harris gave evidence about seeing Winders on March 18, 2013, closing a trailer on the side of the road near his farm on the outskirts of Stratford.

After learning of Mr Taiaroa's death, Mrs Harris rang the police on March 29 to say her neighbour had a blue Jeep Cherokee.

Mr Davis was questioned about Winders' Cherokee that was brought to him for repairs in February 2013.

Mr Davis said the vehicle had been brought to him on a tow truck. He was told it had hit a bank and the "left front was smashed up".

Mr Findlay gave evidence on the four Farmlands accounts held by Max Winders, father of the accused.

Of those accounts, the fourth was under "care of Quinton".

When questioned by Mr Temm, Mr Findlay confirmed there was no record of ammunition purchases between 2009 and 2013 on the Farmland accounts.

The trial will continue today

- Rotorua Daily Post

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