7 May 2013

Coroner agrees tourists should avoid hitch-hiking

8:20 pm on 7 May 2013

A coroner hearing evidence of how a Czech tourist was killed in South Canterbury says he supports a police warning that travellers should not hitch-hike.

Coroner Richard McElrea held an inquest on Tuesday into the death of Dagmar Pytickova and Jason Frandi, of Waimate.

Detective Nicholas Osborne told the court the 31-year-old was picked up by Mr Frandi near Cromwell in Central Otago on 26 May 2012 as she attempted to hitch-hike to Cave near Pleasant Point in South Canterbury to meet her sister.

Mr Osborne says the woman, known as Dasha, was forced to walk for about 15 minutes through a dark forest block near Waimate by Jason Frandi before being assaulted and killed.

He said the 43-year-old's body was found by trail bikers nearby.

The coroner has suppressed much of the evidence, including the causes of death.

He did agree with evidence given by area commander Inspector David Gaskin that, while police have no policy to prevent hitch-hiking, they strongly advise against it.

Mr McElrea also allowed publication of the fact that Jason Frandi was the subject of a police investigation into an allegation of historical child abuse.

The coroner adjourned the inquest and will release his findings in about a month's time.