Revealed: The identity of secret Witness C whose false testimony helped send David Tamihere to jail for 20 years for the 1990 Swedish backpacker murders

The identity of the prisoner whose false testimony in 1990 helped send David Tamihere to jail for 20 years for a double murder in the Coromandel can now be revealed.

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

He is Robert Conchie Harris, who had originally been convicted of the double murder of a couple near Whangarei in 1983.

Last year Harris was jailed for a further eight years after being successfully prosecuted, by jailhouse lawyer Arthur Taylor, on eight counts of perjury, including in the Tamihere case.

Harris was given permanent name suppression after Tamihere's 1990 conviction but that was revoked after last year's perjury convictions and replaced with interim suppression until Witness C's final appeal. Witness C has now abandoned his appeal against the perjury convictions.

Sven Urban Hoglin's body was found in 1991, 73km from where police said he died. Heidi Paakkonen's body has never been found.

David Tamahere
David Tamahere Source: 1 NEWS

The Tamihere case

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

In 1990,Tamihere was convicted of the murders of Swedish backpackers Sven Urban Hoglin, 23, and fiancee Heidi Birgitta Paakkonen, 21, who disappeared while tramping in the Coromandel, in 1989.

His conviction was based largely on the testimony of inmates, including Harris, with Tamihere maintaining his innocence throughout. 

Secret Witness C, one of the former prisoners who had testified against Tamihere at his murder trial, was found guilty of perjury in 2017.



Most watched video: Do you know the identity of Waikato's most wanted undie thief?

Note: This story was first published on Wednesday April 25

CCTV footage has captured the moment a man stole underwear from a washing line in Waikato.

Waikato Police posted footage of the incident to Facebook yesterday (Tuesday) in the hopes a member of the public can identify the alleged undie thief.

"Would be awesome to get to him before he does this to someone else," the post reads.

The footage, recorded on April 6, shows a bearded man wearing what appears to be women's shoes approaching a clothesline with a torch.

The man can be seen perusing the items before grabbing the offending garment.

He carefully stashes the delicates in a bag, giving the camera one last glance before walking away.

The man is also wanted in relation to the burglary of a car, police say.

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Generous Kiwis chip in to raise over $150k for 'amazing' Auckland girl's life-changing surgery to help her walk unaided for the first time

On her fifth birthday Ella Yearbury will have potentially life-changing surgery in the US which may enable her to walk and stand unaided for the first time.

Ella Yearbury.
Ella Yearbury. Source: 1 NEWS

The only problem is Ella's family doesn't have the money needed to bring Ella home from the US to rehabilitate.

Born at 25 weeks, Ella suffered a severe brain bleed at just three days old and now suffers with cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and epilepsy.

Ella Yearbury.
Ella Yearbury. Source: 1 NEWS

Throughout her short life, the South Auckland toddler has endured 18 surgeries.

"She's amazing actually," her mum Kat Yearbury told 1NEWS NOW.

"Straight from her early days in NICU she was always a cheeky strong little fighter and very independent, even trying to pull tubes and things out of her nose when only a few weeks old."

For the past couple of years Ella's mum has tirelessly fundraised for her daughter's operation, a selective dorsal rhizotomy.

"It's been a little over a year that we set off on this journey with the big goal of raising $150,000," she says.

"We ran movie fundraisers, quiz nights we sold chocolate."

One attempt saw them break a Guinness World Record when nearly 1000 people dressed as fairies turned out to help fundraise for the surgery.

Sport stars such as Joseph Parker and Liam Malone have also put their names behind the cause.

Ella Yearbury.
Ella Yearbury. Source: Supplied

Ella's surgery will take place on the May 3 in St Louis Children's Hospital.

"We don't really know what it's going to do for Ella.

"We've been given expectations, but we've sat and weighed it up enough that we know that this is an opportunity for her to have a better life."

The Yearbury family has raised $150,000 for the surgery, but due to Ella's medical conditions and sponsorship falling through, a further $90,000 is needed for her travel.

"I felt like I failed on Sunday when I realised that our sponsorship from an airline that we were hoping for was not going to happen and we were meant to be going in 10 days.

"I didn't know if whether we were just going to park the whole thing or at that time I couldn't even think of another idea to fundraise."

Air Ambulance New Zealand is giving the family two paediatric intensive care specialists to fly with the family.

Family and friends have rallied to help cover the costs, but Ms Yearbury is hoping the public who have been a large support for the family can once again help out and raise the money needed for Ella to come home and rehabilitate.

"I question it a lot that I’m making the right decision for her.

"No one has said stop and I'm not giving up anytime soon anyway."

Ella flies to Missouri on Thursday for her surgery.

If you want to help Ella, go to her website to learn more on how you can donate.

If successful Ella Yearbury will be able to walk and stand unaided for the first time. Source: Breakfast