26 Jul 2002

NZ foreign minister satisfied with open coroner's verdict on Nichols death

9:59 am on 26 July 2002

The New Zealand foreign minister, Phil Goff says he is satisfied with a coroner's open verdict on how a Solomon Islands-based New Zealand diplomat died.

Bridget Nichols died soon after being found with a stab wound outside her home in the New Zealand High Commission compound in Honiara in March.

In a decision released yesterday, the Auckland coroner, Sarn Herdson, says she is unable to determine how Ms Nichols received the wound.

A spokesperson for Mr Goff says he welcomes the open verdict, as it leaves open the way for further inquiries IF new evidence ever happens to come to light.

Investigations by Solomon Islands and New Zealand police and a magistrate in Honiara concluded that Ms Nichols tripped and fell on a small kitchen knife she was carrying in a shoulder bag.