Police say they will need a lot of public help in the investigation into the death of Hastings man Edward (Eddie) Peters eight days after he was found bashed about the face and head in Flaxmere.
The 45-year-old died in Wellington Hospital on Saturday, and a post mortem examination was taking place yesterday, expected to confirm he died from the injuries received on the night of November 15-16.
Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Vining, of Hawke's Bay CIB, said residents at an address in Diaz Dr, near the intersection with Palgrave Ave, heard the sounds of people running and other noises about 12.15am.
A few minutes later they discovered the man in a pool of blood a few metres from their door, on the grass beside their driveway.
Understood to have lived most of his life in Hawke's Bay, but not from the immediate area around where he was found, the man had attended a tangi on the Thursday and was in the evening drinking with friends at an address further west in Diaz Dr, towards Portsmouth Rd.
He left the address and is thought to have been chased and beaten, but, back in the street yesterday as staff continued inquiries, Vining said — "for the sake of reassuring the community" — police do not believe it was a "random" attack.
Police do not have any information to suggest it might be linked to the type of street-gang activity which led to the death of street-dweller Kelly Donner in Flaxmere on March 4. A jury on Friday found a 14-year-old guilty of the killing.
Vining said police believe there will have been people who have not yet spoken with police but who were in Diaz Dr on the night of November 15 and who will have seen activity that could be linked to the assault, which is not believed to have involved any weapons.
"We think he has been physically beaten," Vining said.
It was a warm night, over 20 degrees C till well into the evening, and Diaz Dr can be a busy street, the westernmost thoroughfare across Flaxmere, between Flaxmere Ave and Portsmouth Rd.
"What we do know is that he was drinking at an address in the street earlier in the night, and at some point he's left that address and what happened did happen close to the time he left," Vining said.
"There was a fair bit of activity in the street that night, and we are wanting to speak with anyone who has seen or heard anything — probably in the window between about 11.15pm and 12.15am.
"We have had a reasonable response," he said. "But we think there are more people who were in the neighbourhood, in terms of what has been seen or heard."
The man had been rushed to Hawke's Bay Hospital and later transferred to Wellington Hospital, where he underwent surgery on November 21-22, but he died in the presence of family who were yesterday making arrangements to bring their man home and stage his tangi during the week.
The residents who found the man were still too distraught yesterday to comment publicly.