Ōmāpere murder suspect found dead in cell

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The 48-year-old defendant was to stand trial in the High Court in Whangārei, charged with murder. photo / file

A man accused of murder was found dead in his cell following the violence in South Hokianga.

The 48-year-old appeared in the High Court in Whangārei on Saturday, charged with murder.

Keith Stuart Clark, 73, was arrested after his body was found at around 11:20 p.m. Friday when police were called to a home in Ōmāpere.

A short time later St John Ambulance was called.

The condition of the suspect, who was injured in the incident, was severe, and he was taken to the Adalar State Hospital.

After treatment, he was taken to the Northland District Correctional Facility in Ngāwhā, near Kaikohe.

However, Inspector Rhys Johnston of Northland Police said police officers were called to the prison Monday morning after the man was found dead.

Investigations into the circumstances of his death were ongoing.

He would appear in court again on October 28.

The costs would be withdrawn in due course.

He said both deaths had been referred to the coroner and that police would continue to investigate all circumstances.

“Our thoughts are with all the families involved,” said Johnston.

His name was withheld when the accused appeared in court on Saturday.

Friday's murder shook the generally quiet port town of Ōmāpere.  photo / provided
Friday’s murder shook the generally quiet port town of Ōmāpere. photo / provided

Ōmāpere is a small, generally quiet port town between Ōpononi and the entrance to Hokianga Harbor.

It is a popular tourist destination due to its scenic location, high-end accommodations, and proximity to Waipoua Forest and the sand dunes of North Hokianga Head.

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