Christchurch man kills himself after gang threats - coroner

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RNZ rnz.co.nz

A Canterbury man killed himself after being threatened by a gang over a debt.

Police have taken civil proceedings against the Head Hunters gang in Christchurch.

Source: 1 NEWS

Coroner David Robinson has released his findings into the death of 44-year-old Kerry Juan O'Donnell, who died in April 2017.

The findings said that on 24 April Kerry O'Donnell received a text message from an unknown person who said that some Head Hunter gang members had been looking for Mr O'Donnell.

Later that day, Mr O'Donnell told his ex-wife that he had until 10 pm to come up with a $1000, and that if he didn't either the gang would get him, or he would kill himself.

The next day, after further text exchanges, Mr O'Donnell's ex-wife became aware of his location and went there with two associates.

At that stage emergency services were called but Mr O'Donnell was not able to be saved.

The coroner made no recommendations but said there may have been a more positive outcome if emergency services had been contacted earlier.

Mr Robinson said the recent end of Mr O'Donnell's marriage had been one factor in his wish to kill himself, but the dominating factor was his fear of reprisals at the hands of the Head Hunters gang.

He said his finding would also be referred to the police for them to take appropriate action in response to what appears to be intimidatory behaviour by members of the Head Hunters gang.

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