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Homicide investigation in Whakatane

Location: Whakatane District: Bay Of Plenty

Media Release [Two]
22nd November 2009

Whakatane Police have commenced a homicide investigation following the death of a 36 year-old man after an incident outside licensed premises on 'The Strand', the main street in Whakatäne's CBD at around 2.30am this morning.

Police have cordoned off an area of The Strand adjacent to the 'Quart' licensed premises (formerly known as the 'Red Rock' ) for forensic examination and are being assisted by the ESR.

A number of witnesses have been assisting police with their inquiries.

Police have established the identity of the deceased as follows:

Hawea Ralph Drummond VERCOE Late of Rotoiti

A post mortem will be carried out tomorrow morning.

Officer in Charge of the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Standen states:

" It is still too early to say exactly what has happened however it does appear that some sort of fight broke out which resulted in the deceased being punched to the ground and which we believe may have caused the death of Mr Vercoe."

Police are urging anyone who was present in The Strand, Whakatane between 2.00am and 3.00am this morning (Sunday 22 November 2009) who witnessed this incident or; any person who may have any information which may assist police with this investigation to contact the Whakatane Police Station on (07) 3085255 as soon as possible.

Police are particularly keen to speak to the drivers and occupants of 4-5 vehicles who drove past the 'Quart' Bar at 2.30am this morning which include:

* A silver BMW
* A light coloured Subaru station wagon
* A 2-door light-coloured Japanese Import
* A 4-door utility
* A light-coloured Toyota Altezza motor vehicle parked adjacent to the Quart Bar

ENDS

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