Murder trial

The jury may go out this afternoon in the trial of a Northlander accused of killing a Tribesmen gang member. Rawden Yates, 37, is charged with murdering Kimble Moore by shooting him twice in the back and once in the side in March 2016. Lawyers will deliver their closing addresses to the jury in the High Court at Whangārei this morning before Justice Mathew Downs sums up the case. Yates, also a Tribesmen gang member, has denied killing Moore, saying the gun went off during a struggle.

Whale frolics in harbour
A humpback whale was seen splashing in the blustery conditions in Whangārei Harbour yesterday. Little Munro Bay resident Frank Bates said he spotted the whale about 1.30pm, in the channel between the bay and Marsden Point Oil Refinery. He said it played in the water for about an hour before heading further into the harbour. Bates said he had contacted whale expert Ingrid Visser, described the whale to her, and she confirmed it was a humpback.

Two dead named
The surf ski paddler who died off the Tutukaka Coast was local man John Park. The 51-year-old hit trouble about 5pm on Saturday and spent some time in the water before Coastguard arrived. Only two hours earlier police were called to a fatal car crash on Whareora Rd. Driver and sole occupant of a van Geoffrey Johnston Pearson died at the scene after colliding with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The 58-year-old was from Whangārei.

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Boat to be refloated
A launch moored in Pacific Bay at Tutukaka Harbour had that sinking feeling and two hours later it ended up on the bottom of the ocean on Monday. Divers are scheduled to do a salvage operation today. Harbourmaster Jim Lyle said divers would attach airbags and float the vessel to the surface where the water could be pumped out. There had been reports of a light sheen of diesel on the water.

Park turf torn up
A vacant lot next to Fishbone Park, in Otangarei, was used by an errant motorist overnight on Tuesday to gain access to the park where wheelies ripped up the turf alongside the playing field. Whangārei District Council staff inspected the damage yesterday and said rollers would be used to try to smooth out the ruts. A council spokeswoman said it was disappointing someone had wilfully damaged a park much used and loved by residents. She said if anyone witnessed such behaviour they should ring police or if they discovered the damage they should ring the WDC immediately.