Man found bound and burnt near Christchurch lake was victim of mistaken identity, court hears

The victim of a brutal killing in Christchurch last year was the target of mistaken identity, according to the Crown prosecutor at a High Court trial in Christchurch.

The body of Marcus Tucker, 36, was found bound and burnt near the edge of Christchurch's Lake Ellesmere on Anzac Day last year.

Peter John Carroll, 52, pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder this morning.

The Crown says Mr Tucker was killed after being mistaken for another man with the nickname "Ruckus" who was involved in the theft of $10,000 of methamphetamine and ecstasy from one of the defendant's associates.

The Crown told the court that Carroll struck the victim in the head with a steel steering wheel lock after finding him at an address in Spreydon, and then bound his body, put it in his car boot, and dumped it near Lake Ellesmere, before setting it alight.

Prosecutor Claire Boshier said he was found with his hands tied behind his back, wrapped in bedding and carpet.

Mr Carroll’s defence team accepts that he was responsible for the assault and death of Marcus Tucker, but that there was no murderous intent, and therefore he shouldn’t be found guilty of murder.

"The person best placed to know what he was thinking, is Mr Carroll. But he does not accept that when he did it, he had murderous intent," said defence lawyer Andrew Bailey.

He said he can only be convicted of murder or manslaughter.

The jury’s been told the trial will delve into the dark underworld of Christchurch’s drug and gang scene.

The trial’s expected to last two and half weeks.

The crown says Marcus Tucker was killed after a case of mistaken identity. Source: 1 NEWS



Parts of South Island to get snow, cold snap moving up country

Rain and snow is expected in the South Island later today, as a cold snap moves up the country.

MetService forecaster Peter Little said snow was expected to start falling this afternoon and evening, and fall to 400m.

Otago and South Canterbury are forecast to get heavy rain which will become snow at high elevations.

Check the forecast in your region on the 1 NEWS NOW weather page

The latest cold snap comes just a week after heavy snowfall in Central Otago shut roads and cut power to hundreds.

Northern parts of the Canterbury high country and the Kaikōura coast are likely to be more affected by the snow.

"Down in the south, it's still going to be bitterly cold, places like Southland, Clutha.

"But perhaps they might not see quite as much snow as we would have been thinking before, just because everything has moved slightly further north."

In the North Island a few showers are expected but the cold weather doesn't arrive until tomorrow.

"It's looking like a windier, sort of showery day tomorrow and also we'll see that snow level come down and likely affect the central North Island, including the Desert Road."

The cold weather and strong winds were expected to remain until Thursday, Mr Little said.

- rnz.co.nz

Bridesdale Queenstown. Source: Kate Tonks

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Hamilton high school's students planning protest in response to principal's 'rape victim' speech

Students at Hamilton’s Fraser High School are planning a protest in response to a speech by principal Virginia Crawford where she said being a truant made it highly likely you would become a rape victim, in prison or illiterate.

A student at the school confirmed to 1 NEWS that there was a plan to stage a ‘wagging protest’ outside the front of the school at 10am this morning.

1 NEWS also obtained a poster for the planned protest.

Last week, a recording of a speech by Ms Crawford at a school assembly was posted on YouTube.

READ MORE: Hamilton principal slammed for speech saying truants were highly likely to become rape victims

A flyer for the planned protest.

"Every student who walks out of the gate to truant is already a statistic of the worst kind - highly likely to go to prison, either commit domestic violence or be a victim of domestic violence, be illiterate, be a rape victim, be a suicide victim,” she was heard saying.

In response, the Ministry of Education encouraged parents to complain to the school, if they were concerned about the speech. 

The school has defended the speech. 

A Hamilton high school principal has come under fire for a speech in which she said truants were highly likely to end up in prison, be illiterate, be a rape victim or commit suicide. Source: Dick Tater

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'They've got pretty empty lives' - leading criminologist's harsh words for NZ strawberry needle copycats

As a plague of needles being placed in Australian strawberries appears to have crossed the Tasman, with an Auckland supermarket the latest to discover compromised produce, a Kiwi criminologist says that it was inevitable that copycats would eventually show themselves.

With last night's news that a needle was found in a punnet of strawberries was purchased from an Auckland Countdown supermarket, the Choice brand has been removed from shelves.

Appearing on TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning, criminologist Greg Newbold compared the work of the apparent copycats to that of deviant pyromaniacs.

The Choice brand strawberries came from Australia, and have since been pulled from shelves. Source: Breakfast

"I think it's people who are fundamentally bored, and haven't got much important in their lives," he said.

"It makes them feel important, that they've created a national scandal, a national panic.

"They'll get some enjoyment out of that, they've got pretty empty lives themselves."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Newbold also detailed ways to combat alleged copycats, saying is was important not to give them any credence whatsoever.

Countdown says the strawberries came from Western Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

"If it was me, I'd play it down."

"I wouldn't withdraw those strawberries from the shelves at all, I'd just put a sign up saying 'be careful when you bite these strawberries, there's a one in a million chance there could be a needle in it.

"If you beat it up, you're just throwing petrol on the fire."

Countdown last week announced it had halted imports of Australian strawberries to NZ for the season, while competitor Foodstuffs also ceased shipping them to its stores.
 

Greg Newbold told Breakfast that copycat cases were inevitable. Source: Breakfast


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Simon Bridges against compensation for tenants proven to have smoked or cooked meth in Housing NZ home

National leader Simon Bridges is adamant that those Housing NZ tenants found to have used or produced methamphetamine in their homes should not be compensated, saying “what sort of message does that send?”

As many as 800 current and former state house tenants will be eligible for some form of assistance, following a report released by the agency yesterday acknowledging it was wrong to evict them on the basis of P contamination.

That could range from an apology from Housing New Zealand, to cancellation of meth-related debt and repayment, to a grant for household items and moving costs.

Mr Bridges said he had no issue with re-housing or showing compassion on a case-by-case basis.

In cases where it could be proven that tenants had caused the harm to the Housing NZ property by using or producing meth however, he could not go along with compensation.

“I just think where it’s been established that there is illegality, where there is a breaking of the tenancy agreement, re-housing one thing, compensation is a step too far,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

“I’m sorry, it is not right to compensate those people for what is illegal, what is against their tenancy agreement, what sort of message does that send?”

Asked if the majority of the 800 cases were not people who had used or supplied meth, Mr Bridges said you couldn’t downplay the numbers.

“Ultimately methamphetamine is a scourge on our society, you’re talking about small amounts, I wouldn’t downplay that, the truth is we’re talking about smoking meth, about cooking meth, we don’t want to send messages about those things.”

“I’m not here arguing, saying we shouldn’t re-house, we shouldn’t have compassion on those things, but to write off debts where houses, in some cases, have been wrecked and ruined, and then to compensate for those things, I cannot go along with that.”

Mr Bridges said there was nothing wrong with the test for meth residue that the previous government had used, but it was a matter of standard having been set too low.

“The actual test to establish whether there was methamphetamine there in the house in a level they could pick up, no one is disputing that, not even (Housing Minister) Phil Twyford, he used to try to, he doesn’t now,” he said.

The National leader says it sends a poor message that those found to have cooked or used meth in Housing NZ homes get compensation. Source: Breakfast