Name suppression lifted from Tauranga man charged with infamous "cold case" murder at Red Fox Tavern 30 years ago

The Tauranga man charged with murder in the Red Fox Tavern more than 30 years ago has been released on bail.

Name suppression was lifted from Mark Joseph Hoggart, 58, after a ruling from the Court of Appeal released yesterday.

He was living at a rural address in Ōmanawa when he was arrested in August last year and charged with the murder of publican Chris Bush, who was shot dead at the Maramarua tavern in October 1987.

Read more: Name suppression lifted for Mark Joseph Hoggart in Red Fox Tavern murder case


Hoggart has also been charged with aggravated robbery. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges and will stand trial in April next year.

"Mr Hoggart strenuously denies the allegations - he was not involved," his lawyer Craig Tuck said yesterday.

Hoggart has been in custody since his arrest but was last month released on electronically monitored bail to a Tauranga address.

A second man has also been charged with murder and robbery although his identity is suppressed until the trial, which is estimated to last 12 weeks.

Chris Bush was shot dead at the Red Fox Tavern in October 1987. Photo / Police.
Chris Bush was shot dead at the Red Fox Tavern in October 1987. Photo / Police.

The two arrests came nearly 30 years after the infamous killing at the Red Fox Tavern but just a few months after the police announced they were re-investigating the cold case.

Bush had been enjoying a drink with three other staff members after closing the Maramarua pub on the side of State Highway 2, when two men entered the bar.

The two heavily disguised men, one carrying a double-barrelled shotgun and the other a baseball bat, allegedly yelled, "this is a hold-up".

As Bush stood up, he was shot and killed.

One of the men then allegedly ordered a female staff member to search Bush's pockets for the key to the safe. The robbers fled with $25,000.