15 May 2002

Solomon Islands police say Nichols death was accident

5:43 pm on 15 May 2002

Solomons Islands police say all evidence points to New Zealand diplomat, Bridget Nichols, dying from an accidental death.

Ms Nichols, who was the deputy high commissioner, was found stabbed in her residential compound in Honiara two months ago.

The police commissioner, Morton Sireheti, says investigations have been completed and he is confident that there were no suspicious circumstances and all evidence points towards an accidental death.

The New Zealand foreign minister, Phil Goff, says that a six member New Zealand police team which went to Honiara, came to the same conclusion.

"The work that has been done, the forensic work, the investigation, by the New Zealand police, leads to them being firmly of the opinion that this was an accidental death, rather than a result of a homicide.They have been able to find absolutely no evidence that any third party was involved and on the basis of that evidence, we have to accept the conclusion, that the likely outcome, because you can never entirely guarantee these things, with the absence of any witnesses, that the most likey outcome was, that this was accidental death."

The Solomons police commissioner doesn't anticipate any criminal charges to arise from the inquiry.

No details have been released but the commissioner says a hearing will be held in public next month before a magistrate to establish the cause of death.