2 Jul 2010

Relatives baffled by death of man in city street

7:57 pm on 2 July 2010

Relatives of a man killed in Hamilton say they are in shock and cannot understand why it has happened.

Donald Stewart, 74, of Wellington, was found dead from a blow to the head in a central Hamilton street early on Sunday morning. It was not till Wednesday that his body was identified.

At a news conference held in Hamilton on Thursday by his brother, daughter and son-in-law, Gordon Stewart described his brother Don as a private, conservative man, who was kind and fun-loving and had a dry sense of humour.

His brother liked to travel, Gordon Stewart said, but he had no idea why he was in Hamilton over the weekend. Members of the family had not seen him for some time, although they kept in regular contact by mail.

Police say Mr Stewart's family did not even know he was missing until they contacted them.

Victim was either punched or kicked

The death is being treated as homicide. Police say they have established that Mr Stewart's head injuries were not accidental and that he was either punched or kicked.

They would very much like to establish the movements of his vehicle, a white Peugeot, which was recovered in an Auckland scrapyard on Tuesday.

The car was seen being refuelled by the victim at a service station in Hamilton on Saturday night, then seen abandoned in a drain in Collins Rd on the outskirts of Hamilton.

Police believe it was removed from the drain between 2.30pm and 3pm on Monday, before being taken to a Hamilton scrapyard and stripped, its engine removed and crushed.

It was found in the Auckland scrapyard shortly before it was to have been destroyed.