Turangi petrol station killer, convicted after 30 years in high-profile cold case, has died

A Taupō man who spent years avoiding jail after shooting dead a petrol station attendant has died.

Menzies John Hallett was convicted of murdering Rodney Tahu in 2013 at the Rotorua High Court – more than 30 years after the crime was committed in Turangi.

A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections confirmed to 1 NEWS that Hallet died on Wednesday. 

He was in hospital at the time and "had been receiving treatment following a medical event", the spokesperson said.

Hallett was an inmate at Northland Region Corrections Facility.

Details which emerged during the trial painted a picture of the evening of August 16, 1979, when Hallett shot 31-year-old Mr Tahu at close range after Mr Tahu would not serve him - having closed the petrol station for the night.  

The high-profile case left many baffled as Hallett walked free due to a lack of evidence.

It was only due to a law change in 2006 allowing spouses to provide evidence against one another that led to a conviction.  

The Crown's key witness during the murder trial was Hallet’s ex-wife, Susan Sharpe, who claimed Hallett had admitted to killing Mr Tahu.  

Justice Duffy said Hallett had showed "little or no remorse" and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Menzies Reginald John Hallett Source: 1 NEWS