Case 22: Bristol Family Murders (WHANGANUI CHRONICLES – PART III)

WHANGANUI, MANAWATU. In the decades subsequent to 1920, Wanganui did much growing. The town of Wanganui was officially upgraded to a city in 1924. Many of Wanganui’s most well known monuments were erected during this time, including the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower in 1926, the Whanganui Regional Museum in 1928 and the famous War Memorial Hall in 1960.

By the early 1980s, the city of Wanganui had grown so much, it was housing a population of almost 40,000 citizens. Making up a handful of those citizens were the well known business family -- The Bristols.

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Case 21: ‘The Wanganui Affair’ (WHANGANUI CHRONICLES – PART II)

WHANGANUI, MANAWATU. On the 15th of May 1920, Wanganui citizens were shocked by a crime that involved their elected Mayor. The crime was reported on later in the New Zealand Truth newspaper, “The evidence which was adduced makes the case one of the most sensational in the annals of the New Zealand courts. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a more extraordinary sequence of happenings. Charles Mackay, in his public business life, was a popular and successful man, but there was another and hideous side to his nature -- a Jekyll as well as a Hyde to his character, and [Walter D’Arcy] Cresswell, a returned soldier, unmasked the debonair Mayor and discovered him to be another Oscar Wilde, morally unclean; a pursuer of perverted and putrid ‘pleasures’”.

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Case 20: Phoebe Veitch (WHANGANUI CHRONICLES – PART I)

WHANGANUI, MANAWATU. On the 27th of February 1883 something was found on the beach near the Whanganui river mouth that wasn’t the usual river byproducts. A telegraph linesperson, Arthur Fitchett was working along the beach when he discovered something that would shock and horrify the small township -- the deceased corpse of a four-year-old girl. 

The story that unfolded became one of the darkest and most complicated crimes in the annals of Whanganui’s short history. This is the tale of the strange case of child slaughter.

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Case 19: Gordon McKay

PIHA, AUCKLAND. In 1939 Piha was in the news for something completely unrelated to its beach; it was in the headlines for a house fire claiming the life of one person. As the events unfolded, more information rose to the surface and ultimately the story of the ‘Piha Fire’ of 1939 became one of the most curious crimes in the archives of NZ’s history. This is the tale of Gordon McKay and The Duplicitous Inferno

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Case 18: The Raurimu Rampage

RAURIMU, MANAWATU. Saturday the 8th of February 1997. 9.05am. Stephen Anderson walks into the kitchen holding a 12 gauge sawn-off shotgun and carrying a shotgun cartridge in his mouth. His father Neville immediately sprang from his seat and approached the gunman “What are you doing… Give it to me Stephen”. Neville grabbed hold of the barrel of the shotgun, attempting to wrestle it out of his son’s hands when Stephen accused his father of being wicked, You're the devil incarnate." BANG! The shotgun fired, fatally injuring Neville Anderson. Stephen’s rampage had begun.

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ANZAC I: Caesar the Anzac Dog

In early 1916, the 4th Battalion of the NZ Rifle Brigade took part in a parade down Queen Street, Auckland before they embarked overseas to Egypt to fight in World War I. ‘A’ company marched down the street waving to the cheering crowd, they were joined by their mascot, an American bulldog called Caesar

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Case 17: Baby Kahurautete

LOWER HUTT. WELLINGTON. Saturday. 13th of April 2002. 11.20am. Donna Hall gathered her two nieces, Manumea and Erena Durie to take a morning stroll along the Hutt River with ‘baby Kahu’ and the family dog. The fivesome left their house and wandered through the suburbs of Woburn. The two nieces pushed Kahu in the pushchair a few metres ahead of Donna who walked the dog behind.

Eventually the quintet walked southwest onto Saint Albans Grove. As they made their way down the road towards the riverbank a Mitsubishi Magna passed them and parked ahead at the end of the grove, near the stairs to Strand Park

As the quintet approached the stairs leading up to the riverbank, a man wearing a balaclava, gloves and weilding a .22 Ruger semi automatic rifle burst out of the Mitsubishi and quickly approached the group. The attacker pointed the rifle at the head of Erena Durie and threatened to kill her along with her sister Manumea if they didn’t leave baby Kahu.

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