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Waihi Beach murder accused in court

Published: 6:13AM Wednesday January 09, 2013 Source: ONE News

A teenager charged with murder following the fatal stabbing of a man in Waihi Beach on New Year's Day has appeared in court.

Robert Murray Wilkinson, 64, was stabbed in the head and neck in the early hours of New Year's Day. He died in hospital two days later surrounded by family.

Police announced this morning at a press conference in Waihi, north of Waihi Beach, that an 18-year-old man had been charged with murder.

The accused, who is from Waihi and was arrested in the town at 4.30pm yesterday, appeared in Hamilton District Court today.

He was remanded in custody and is now due to appear in Tauranga District Court on Monday. He has interim name suppression. No plea was entered today.

Thirty police staff from across Waikato, Central and Upper North Island are working on the case.

At a press conference today, Waikato District Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Chris Page said the accused was picked up in the Waihi area.

Page said the arrest was a "significant progress point for the inquiry", and that the key to the arrest was the information provided by the community.

"We spoke with the family last night and they were immensely grateful for the support of the community and the way that the community has rallied around and helped police in this case."

He said there is still a lot of work to do in relation to the number weapons they have received and "some forensic testing will be required to be able to confirm whether in fact we have the weapon we are looking for".

Page said the inquiry team had worked long and hard on the case and their "satisfaction comes from seeing the family who are able to finally grieve and put some form of closure to a particular chapter and a tragic event in their life".

He said the investigation continues and police "will not rest until we know that no-one else was involved".

One person who handed in a knife to a security guard at the scene two days after the stabbing has been spoken to by police.

Wilkinson, known as Murray, was visiting Waihi Beach from Queensland and had been staying in a caravan at the front of a friend's property on Waihi Beach Road.

He was stabbed when he went to investigate a disturbance outside at about 1am on New Year's Day.

Page said Wilkinson's family had been very supportive of the investigation team and "expressed their gratitude for this latest development".

Police appealed today for anyone who was staying at Citrus Ave, numbers 1-40, in Waihi Beach on the night of New Year's Eve to get in touch.

"This is a new area of focus for us and we would very much appreciate speaking to anyone who was staying in this area over that time period," said Page.

Anyone with information is being urged to contact the Waihi and Waihi Beach Police Stations by ringing 0800 OP BRAD (0800 672723). Information can also be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.