By Tony Wall
New Zealand police are trawling through missing persons and unsolved murder files after it was revealed that a Royal Navy sailor charged with two murders spent four months in Auckland between the killings.
British detectives are considering coming to Auckland to track the movements of Petty Officer Alan Michael Grimson, who is charged with killing two young men in 1997 and 1998.
They suspect that Grimson is responsible for more deaths and will make inquiries in all the ports around the world he is known to have visited.
Grimson, aged 40, was arrested in December after the bodies were discovered in and near Portsmouth.
The victims were 18-year-old sailor Nicholas Wright, who disappeared after leaving a Southsea nightclub late in 1997, and barman Sion Llewellyn Jenkins, 20, who disappeared about December 1998.
Sources have told the Herald that Grimson trawled nightclubs looking for young men.
Between June and September 1998 he served in the Royal New Zealand Navy as an instructor at the fire school in Devonport.
Lieutenant-Commander Bill Morley said Grimson was part of the Long Look exchange programme and trained Navy personnel to deal with fires, floods and chemical spills.
The officer in charge of the fire school, Lieutenant Fraser McGhie, said he had heard about the charges against Grimson through another British sailor.
"To say we were shocked is putting it lightly.
"I found he was a good guy. He did his work pretty well with no problems."
Grimson is understood to have lived at the Devonport Naval Base.
Some Auckland police officers have taken an interest in Grimson after being told about him by the Herald.
British authorities have not yet made a formal approach.
There is no record of any young men dying in suspicious circumstances in Auckland during Grimson's time here.
The only unsolved Auckland murder from that period is the Kayo Matsuzawa homicide.
The body of the young Japanese woman was locked inside a fire-alarm cupboard in central Auckland about September 11, 1998.
The officer in charge of that case, Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Baker, was interested to hear of Grimson's presence in Auckland in 1998 and said he would make inquiries.
Grimson and a fellow Royal Navy officer were arrested in Portsmouth on December 15 after a review of the disappearance of Mr Wright uncovered new information.
The teenage sailor disappeared after completing his first week at sea on the Portsmouth-based destroyer HMS Edinburgh.
His body was found in the back yard of a Portsmouth property, and the next day Mr Jenkins' body was found in undergrowth near the village of Charlton.
Both men had died of head injuries.
Grimson is yet to enter a plea to the charges.