Report Robert Nelson killed in 'rival gang hit' in Hamilton 'inaccurate', police say as homicide probe continues

The killing of Robert Nelson in Hamilton earlier this month was not an organised gang hit, police say.

Robert Nelson was fatally shot early Sunday, with two others, including his girlfriend, seriously hurt. Source: 1 NEWS

A homicide investigation is underway after Mr Nelson's death on July 8 in the Hamilton suburb of Melville.

In a statement police say they are "keeping an open mind to any possible scenario for the motive for Mr Nelson's death".

Superintendent Bruce Bird says at this stage police are treating the three murders since June 30 as separate investigations. Source: Breakfast

They go on to say: "The information reported in the media claiming the murder was an ordered hit by a rival gang is not information provided by Police and is inaccurate".

Mr Nelson's death is one of three recent homicides in Waikato that police said yesterday are linked to more than one gang.

Over 60 staff are working on the cases, and other specialists have been called in from around New Zealand.

On July 8, 23-year-old Robert Nelson was shot dead at his girlfriend's house. She was injured and another young man badly hurt.

The body of Ngāruawāhia man Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson was found in the water at McLaren Falls near Tauranga on July 13.

Late last month Huntly man Wayne Noda was found dead at his home on June 30, and police believe his injuries were inflicted during an assault.

Police say the three homicides in such a short time is unprecedented for the Waikato region.

Police watchdog slams 'ill-considered' Armed Offenders Squad tactics during 2016 Kawerau siege

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has sharply criticised the tactics used by police during the armed siege near Kawerau in Bay of Plenty in March 2016.

Reporter Paul Hobbs is above the scene, where police vehicles are focusing on a rural property on Onepu Spring Rd. Source: 1 NEWS

Four police officers were shot by Rhys Warren after he fired at a police cannabis spotting aircraft, prompting an Armed Offender Squad response, and subsequent raid.

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

Warren surrendered after the overnight siege, and was later convicted of two charges of attempted murder, three counts of using a firearm against a law enforcement officer and one count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He was sentenced to preventative detention.

A full report into the incident, which took place on March 9 and 10, 2016 at two properties on Onepu Spring Road, was released today.


On March 9 2016 about 10.30am, Warren fired shots at a spotter plane conducting a cannabis removal operation near his house.

One officer was already on the property looking for plants, and was among a plot of cannabis plants hidden in a copse of blackberry bushes when he believes he was also shot at by Warren.

The officer fled and the Armed Offenders Squad was called in - they set up a cordon by about 1pm and police used a loud hailer to repeatedly ask Warren to surrender - he did not respond.

Police obtained the landline and mobile phone numbers for the property and Warren, and attempted numerous times to call him - he appeared to hang up on them four times, before letting the phone ring without answering.

Officers used a ballistic shield to make their way around the house, smashing windows and pulling out the net curtains to improve visibility, all the while calling out to Warren and urging him to surrender.

The broken glass now inside the property meant the use of police dogs was difficult, as the broken glass could potentially injure their feet, but a dog handler who eventually entered the property decided he could carry his dog over the glass and employ it if necessary.

Rhys Warren, accused of attempted murder, says he should have been safe inside his grandmother's home.
Rhys Warren. Source: 1 NEWS

The use of tear gas was also decided against, as the scene commander did not consider it justified due to uncertainty as to who was inside the property.


AOS members entered the house about 3.30pm and Warren was waiting in a bedroom at the end of a hallway.

He fired three shots, hitting three officers and badly wounding them.

One of the officers told the IPCA he felt the "hair on the back of [his] neck" stand up just before Warren opened fire.

The dog handler who entered the house was hit in the face by shrapnel from the scope of a rifle which had been shattered by one of Warren's shots.

He fell "straight back like a kauri tree" with "blood all over his face", according to the account of another officer, and received a serious brain injury requiring surgery and extensive rehabilitation.

Another felt a "punch" as he was hit in the left knee by shrapnel from a wooden cabinet - he later underwent surgery to remove embedded fragments.

The AOS members reported hearing "screaming" and "groaning" as they returned fire, forcing Warren to take cover, and the three wounded officers were dragged to safety.

Police fired a total of 46 shots back at Warren - none hit him.

Later that day about 5pm, Warren also shot another police officer who was stationed at the cordon.

Police are standing by their tactics and say the whole incident was handled "extremely well". Source: 1 NEWS

He remained inside the house until 9am the next day, when he gave himself up, much to the relief of worried whanau who had gathered at the scene.


"The tactical decision-making and control and command exercised by Police in response to shots fired near Kawerau on 9 March 2016 was highly flawed and placed Police officers at risk," the report reads.

"The decision to enter 158 was ill-considered and wrong.

"The Authority has found that the AOS officers should never have entered the Warren family's house, and that there was poor general understanding amongst officers at all levels about how control and command should have operated during different phases of the Police response.

"The lack of proper oversight was a strong contributing factor to the flawed tactical decisions."

The IPCA said two police officers did not follow correct procedure before entering the two properties, as they failed to notify the communications centre and also failed to carry out a risk assessment.

The use of a cordon in this situation was described as "aggressive" by the IPCA, and that "greater consideration should have been given to a less risky deployment tactic".

The IPCA said police were justified in shooting back at Warren during the incident and that good aftercare was given to the wounded officers.

Rhys Warren was responsible for the 22 hour siege in Kawerau last March. Source: 1 NEWS


Police say they accept the criticism in the report and have taken steps to remedy their shortcomings.

Assistant Commissioner Districts Bill Searle said in a statement that police conducted their own internal investigation into the incident, and that their findings were "consistent" with those of the IPCA.

"As a result Police have made a number of changes at both district and national level," Searle said.

One such change is ensuring all police dogs are issued protective boots for situations where there is a possibility their feet will be injured.

Police are also trialling a dog-mounted camera system which can provide a remote view to officers outside of a premises.

"Ultimately, incidents such as Operation Pencarrow are often complex and dynamic," Searle said.

"Circumstances can and do change very quickly and decisions have to be made based on the information available to officers at the time.

"The safety of our staff and members of the public is a strategic and operational priority for Police ... the fact four officers were injured in this incident is of great concern to us.

"The lessons learnt from our own review and the IPCA report into Operation Pencarrow have been carefully considered to ensure we operate in the safest and most effective way to protect both our staff and the community.

"Despite the issues raised by the IPCA, we note that the person responsible for shooting our staff was Rhys Warren."

But the IPCA report also found that police were justified in shooting Rhys Warren. Source: 1 NEWS


Young New Zealand diabetics missing insulin shots in dangerous bid to lose weight

A third of young people with type one diabetes are purposely not taking insulin, or are at risk of avoiding insulin, in order to lose weight.

The disorder - termed diabulimia - is not a recognised eating disorder, but health professionals are warning it is a major issue that needs to be addressed.

Pediatric endocrinologist Paul Hofman lead the study looking at 300 diabetic adolescents in Auckland and Waikato, aged between 12 and 25.

Of those categorised as "high risk", 75 per cent were female.

He said the disorder is a major issue which affects around a third of this population.

"It is something that we're not identifying and it's something that is relatively straight-forward to manage but we currently have nothing in place to offer for this group."

Mr Hofman said Māori and Pacifica adolescents were at a higher risk than European and Pākehā youth.

"There was a really major ethnicity issue. So the odds of having an eating disorder for Māori was about twice as much and Pacific Islander about five times as much.

"I certainly didn't expect that."

He said the study proved what experts thought was probably happening in New Zealand, but up until now, had no data on.

"You could argue there's maybe a little bit of 'head in the sand - we don't really want to know because we can't do very much', but I think we've gone past that and we've now got clear evidence that this is a substantial problem and that we actually need to start looking at finding the resource to treat it."

He said while the study was relatively small, he was confident it was a fair representation of what was happening around the country.

"What was interesting is there was no age effect, so it didn't matter if you were a 12-year-old or a 25-year-old your risk was the same, so arguably we could go down to ten or eight years old and we'd still see it."

"I think we could do a broader study but it's not really going to change what we know."

Also involved in the study was eating disorders expert Roger Mysliwiec who said the effects of omitting insulin were severe.

"This behaviour leads to high acute risk as well as long-term risks, including cardiovascular complications, possible blindness and kidney failure."

He said it was potentially fatal.

"I would say that is definitely a possibility, we have seen people with very severe complications, but we don't know statistics about that because people can die of severe hyperglycemia or other complications that are related to the diabetes, so the eating disorder wouldn't necessarily be given as cause of death."

Dr Mysliwiec said early intervention was the best way to help stem the issue.

"If we look at it in terms of health costs, of someone with long-term diabetes who starts suffering from severe physical complications, which has other implications in terms of their capacity to work and risk of developing depression and so forth.

"If we look at the bigger picture, early intervention is so much more effective and cost-effective."

Lisa Ingle, the founder of Diabetes and Eating Disorders Awareness (DEDA), said she was hopeful the study would bring greater awareness of the issue, and encourage health groups to collaborate and come up with solutions.

"I think we've really just hit the tip of the iceberg in some ways and we have shown that this a problem in New Zealand and this is something that's affecting people with type one diabetes.

"I think the number one thing that needs to happen is collaborating between the eating disorder and diabetes services."

She said DEDA was a place people could come to for support and information.

"Our main message is hope."