18 Apr 2011

Police believe car arson linked to Blueskin Bay killing

4:26 pm on 18 April 2011

Police believe the arson of a vehicle in a Dunedin suburb early on Saturday could be linked to the murder of James Mathew Ellis.

Police say the vehicle is owned and was being driven by a person facing charges in relation to the death of Mr Ellis, 23, most recently of Oamaru.

The body of Mr Ellis was found in the Blueskin Bay estuary, north of Dunedin on Friday morning.

Police say Mr Ellis died in what appear to be gruesome circumstances. A post-mortem revealed numerous blunt force trauma injuries to his head, hands and arms.

A resident notified police about smoke coming from a car on Kaikorai Valley Road just after 5am on Saturday.

Police say the car is a green 1997 Mazda Capella, registration BCL 448, and had previously been parked at a property in the suburb of Corstorphine.

Three men aged 17, 25 and 47 appeared in the Dunedin District Court on Monday charged with Mr Ellis' murder.

Two accused will reappear in court on 3 May and the other on 14 June. All have interim name suppression and the eldest is on bail.