Wellington Homicide Victim Identified
Wellington Homicide Victim Identified
New Zealand Police
National News Release
2:12pm 11 July 2006
The body of Wellington's south coast homicide victim has been identified as 62-year-old Anthony Stanlake of Karori.
Detective Inspector Mike Arnerich, head of Wellington CIB's Operation Red Rocks, says establishing Mr Stanlake's identity is a vital breakthrough for the inquiry team, but police are still no closer to finding out why the man died, when or who was involved.
"Learning the identity of our victim opens up a raft of investigative avenues for police," Detective Inspector Arnerich says. "A huge amount of information is however still unknown to us and we need the public's help more than ever to advance this investigation.
"We've been talking overnight and this morning with members of his family and a close female friend to find out more about Tony, his interests, people he worked with or socialised with."
Mr Stanlake was separated, has two adult children, and a female companion who does not live with him.
"This is a very distressing time for these people as they try to come to terms with the brutal death of someone close to them," Detective Inspector Arnerich says. "They do not want to be contacted by media and we ask that people respect their wish for privacy."
Police are appealing for people who know Mr Stanlake, his friends, business associates, his Karori neighbours or anyone who has had any dealings with him to urgently contact the inquiry team on 0508 733 762 or contact the Wellington CIB on telephone 04 381 2000.
Mr Stanlake, known to family and friends as both Anthony and Tony, worked as a fireman for 23 years but in more recent years developed several property interests in the Wellington area. He was a volunteer with Victim Support in Wellington for 18 months in the 1990s.
He and his female companion, a New Zealand woman, had recently home after holidaying in China during May.
It was a call from Mr Stanlake's companion to the Operation Red Rocks 0508 733 762 hotline number and followed up yesterday that provided the first real lead on his identity.
Although the couple didn't live together, they were in daily contact with each other. The woman became more concerned throughout the weekend when she couldn't contact him, and her fears increased on Sunday night and yesterday morning with media reports of the finding of a body at Owhiro Bay.
Detective Inspector Arnerich says police used palmprint details taken from a piece of skin on the remains of one of Mr Stanlake's hands to positively identify him. Family members were then traced in both New Zealand and overseas and advised of his death.
Mr Stanlake was convicted of two cannabis related charges in Wellington in 2001 but police do not know if there was any linkage between drugs and his violent death.
"We have a totally open mind on why Tony died and who was responsible," Detective Inspector Arnerich says.
"We have a huge inquiry task in front us, trying to trace Tony's movements, particularly in the last few weeks up until the time his body was found at Owhiro Bay on Sunday morning."
Police are now searching Mr Stanlake's Lancaster Road, Karori, house to see if that will yield any important information. Officers want to hear from anyone who has visited the house in recent weeks, or who has seen any suspicious activity in the area.
Mr Stanlake's hands, the weapons used in his death, and clothing such as a shirt or top are still to be found.
Police are continuing to search the Owhiro Bay beach area and now hope that scene will be opened to the public late Wednesday. Officers will however continue to make regular shoreline checks throughout the week to see if any items of interest are washed up.
There's still no word yet from the driver of a dark blue or black Subaru Legacy four door saloon or similar vehicle that got stuck at the beach on Saturday night. The vehicle was towed out by a group of local residents about 7pm. It's not known if the vehicle is linked in any way to Mr Stanlake's death but police would like to speak with the driver.