David Tamihere 'real dirty' on secret witnesses after snitch who helped convict him of Swedish tourists' murders revealed

Convicted murderer David Tamihere says he's "real dirty" on secret witnesses after the name was revealed today of one who helped convict him of the murders of two Swedish tourists in 1989.

Robert Conchie Harris has been known simply as 'Witness C' for nearly 30 years, his identity a secret, and last September the jailhouse 'snitch' was convicted of perjury for giving false evidence in the Tamihere case. 

Harris's explosive evidence played a major part in convincing a jury that David Tamihere was the man who killed Swedish tourists Heidi Paakkonen and Urban Hoglin on the Coromandel Peninsula. But his testimony was found to be all lies. 

Urban Höglin and Heidi Paakkonen
Urban Höglin and Heidi Paakkonen Source: 1 NEWS

"I've got a real dirty on these secret witnesses. You've got no idea to see how dirty I am on them," Tamihere told 1 NEWS.

"I reckon it's high time that this cellmate confession stuff gets stopped," he added.

1 NEWS can now reveal Harris is a career criminal - a double murderer who executed a couple on a remote Northland property in 1983.

Secret witness researcher Mike Kalaugher said Harris "left both their bodies lying on the ground after he had shot them so that their children would find them on their way home from school".

Harris has been twice released on parole and twice recalled back to prison, most recently for a sexual offence.

And thanks to the private prosecution of another inmate, Arthur Taylor, 69-year-old Harris is now serving another eight years for perjury.

It's just completely misleading for jurors - Mike Kalaugher, secret witness researcher

"This is a serial liar," said Richard Francois, Arthur Taylor's lawyer.

Harris claimed Tamihere told him he'd brutally murdered the Swedish couple, but twice retracted that, once on national television.

Robert Conchie Harris (wearing tie and facing camera).
Robert Conchie Harris (wearing tie and facing camera). Source: 1 NEWS

Witness C, was asked on the Holmes programme in July 1996: "Did he ever say anything to you like, 'I killed the Swedes?'"

Witness C replied: "No, he always maintained his innocence to me."

Mr Kalaugher said today: "This is the criminal who's going to tell the truth about what really happened. That's the way it's portrayed. And it's just not true. It's just completely misleading for jurors."

Mr Francois said: "He's been used by the police time and time again, and they know it."

In some countries jailhouse witnesses are banned. In Canada their credibility is first tested by an independent panel of prosecutors. In New Zealand there are no plans to change the way we use prison informants.

David Tamihere was released on parole in 2010. He could be recalled to prison at any time.

He's hoping the Government's plans to establish a Criminal Cases Review Commission will one day clear him of the Swedish murders.

Robert Conchie Harris' testimony helped convict David Tamihere of the murder of two Swedish backbackers. Source: 1 NEWS



For first time new police recruits able to be taught in Auckland

A new training scheme is being launched to help boost police numbers in Auckland.

For the first time, new recruits will be taught in Auckland instead of Wellington to try and increase the range of candidates.

It comes as welcome news to the likes of Samuel Holland, who won't have to leave his wife and newborn baby.

"To me it'll be the greatest thing, my situation with a young baby I didn't want to miss out on things, especially being first time parents," he said.

Police will split driving, firearms, and defensive and tactical classes between Unitec and the North Shore policing centre.

They say it won't cost any more, and will help meet the target of 1800 new police over the next three years. 

A pilot programme will mean recruits don't have to spend four months in Porirua being trained. Source: 1 NEWS

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New base for Christchurch's air rescue services to mean faster treatment for patients

A new home for Christchurch's air rescue services is expected to be a game-changer for emergency services and tourism.

The GCH Aviation complex which is being officially unveiled tomorrow, is being called a "massive leap forward" for Westpac Rescue Helicopter and the New Zealand Flying Doctors Service.

The $23 million facility is the South Island's only fully-integrated air ambulance centre, meaning faster treatment for patients.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter pilot Stuart Farquhar says the building has been invaluable in speeding up care.

"It could be life and death. The less time it takes us to get to the patient the better it is for them, and that's always the case," he said.

"It's fantastic. Probably the best facility of its type in the whole of New Zealand."

The complex is also Christchurch's first official jet terminal, with VIP border clearance and a hangar for private planes.  

That's something GCH Aviation managing director John Currie says will be invaluable for the city.

"You look after people properly, they'll want to come back again. It's no rocket science," he said.

Emergency services will host an open day in the complex this Sunday.

The $23 million facility in Christchurch will be the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Source: 1 NEWS