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More answers needed on RSA murder case

More answers needed on RSA murder case

National still wants answers on why police missed two opportunities to arrest William Bell before he killed three people and why the probation system had no control of him.

Bell was today jailed for 33 years - the longest fixed-term sentence ever handed down in New Zealand legal history.

"Today's sentence still doesn't answer questions around why Bell was free in the first place to commit these murders," says National's Police spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"National has already called for total disclosure from Corrections over Bell's parole conditions. Obviously Bell had violated every one of any parole conditions he may have had when released from prison five months before the RSA murders. Corrections said they would release details after sentencing, now they should.

"But we also want the release of the investigation into why the police had two opportunities to do something which may have changed the course of this tragic event, but didn't. A week before the killings, staff at the St George Tavern in Papatoetoe gave police Bell's name, address and telephone number after he had talked his way in by posing as a manager and stolen the previous night's takings.

"The pub manager laid repeated complaints with police, making written statements but no officer arrived to investigate until the day after the triple murder.

"The day before the killings, police were told there was evidence linking Bell to the burglary of a Newmarket engineering firm. Bell had posed as a manager and was later seen loading computer equipment into his car. A witness took down the number-plate, but police didn't arrive to investigate until after the RSA murders.

"The claim at the time by Police Association president, Greg O'Connor that the lack of response to Bell's earlier crimes reflected police understaffing goes without saying. Auckland policing remains in crisis and the situation is going to get worse before there's any improvement.

"The Corrections and Police Ministers owe it to New Zealand to stop the cover-up. Nothing short of full public disclosure is acceptable," says Mr Ryall.

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