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UK Student Still Critical But Responding

14 December 2007


The father of Matthew John Purchase, 21, the English agricultural
student shot in the head near Putaruru on December 8 has today made a
statement about his son's condition (audio on

Matthew is still in a critical condition in intensive care at Waikato
Hospital in Hamilton but has responded to some commands from his

His 23-year-old brother Simon and sister Rachel, 19, arrived in New
Zealand this morning to join their parents Ian and Helen Purchase in
supporting Matthew.

Mr Purchase said he and his wife were going through a "roller coaster"
of emotions. The tragic shooting was something he would not wish on
anybody's family.

Their son had shown some small signs of improvement in the last 24
hours since Wednesday's surgery. Matthew had held his mother's hand
briefly, opened an eye and wiggled his toes. His condition is still

Noted neurosurgeon Dr Venkataraman Balakrishnan, who did the operation,
made the following statement about the operation.

"Exposed right side of skull, removed all necrotic (dead and destroyed)
brain matter.
Removed few in driven bone fragments and two fragments of bullets.
Large layer of his own tissue used to cover the brain and inner side of
right ear
to prevent further brain extrusion and prevent infection.
CT scan today showed less swelling of brain. Small blood clot of the
left side
not requiring surgery.
He is getting less sedation. Seen him moving right hand, leg and slight
left leg only. "

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Tokoroa Police today charged a 48-year-old Danish tourist with careless
use of a firearm causing bodily injury.

The charged person appeared in the Tokoroa District Court this morning
and has been released on bail to reappear in the court on February 5.

The police investigation is still continuing but no other people are
being sought.

This case brings timely reminder from the police that all users of
firearms must be aware of the responsibility they accept when using guns
of any type.

The cardinal rules of firearms' safety are that every firearm should be
treated as loaded and that you should always clearly identify your
target as well as what is beside and behind it.


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