8 Nov 2013

Man admits to Tolaga Bay murder

7:02 pm on 8 November 2013

A Tolaga Bay man who ran over a neighbour four times because his puppy came on to the lawn has pleaded guilty to murder.

Selwyn David Cornelius, 51, killed Mark Anthony Paaka on 31 October.

Police say what started as an argument between neighbours in the East Coast settlement ended in the tragic death of a much loved local man.

Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Smith says the two got into an argument about Mr Paaka's puppy being on Cornelius's property that morning.

Cornelius hit Mark Paaka and ran over him four times. He died in the ambulance on the way to hospital. A short time later, Cornelius handed himself in at the local police station.

Mr Smith says it is unusual for someone to plead guilty at their first appearance in court but it will provide some much needed relief to Mr Paaka's friends and family.

He said police were not aware of any previous conflict between the men.

"It's hard to fathom that the result of such a reasonably minor matter has ended in a man's death. This is a type of argument that's between neighbours quite commonly, I would expect, but has been blown completely out of proportion."

Cornelius will be sentenced in the Gisborne District Court on 16 December.