Name release Whitianga double mine fatality

Monday 15 October 2012, 5:03PM
By New Zealand Police


A post mortem examination conducted on the bodies of two men found in an abandoned mine in the Whitianga area of the Coromandel has been completed.

Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson of the Thames Coromandel CIB said the purpose of the examination was to establish the cause of the men's' death.

"The post mortems of the two Whitianga men, 40-year-old Kerry Alexander MURPHY and 49-year-old Grant Christopher WYLLIE, were conducted in Auckland today and the preliminary findings are that they both died from the inhalation of carbon monoxide.

"The inhalation of chemicals fumes from the clandestine laboratory has not been discounted at this stage and the cause of death will be determined by the Coroner."

Mr Patterson said Police, working through difficult terrain, removed the pair's bodies yesterday for transportation to Auckland for this morning's examination.

"Police and ESR forensic specialists removed a significant amount of equipment and chemicals from near the scene yesterday and these items have been confirmed as being consistent with a clandestine drug laboratory.

"There's been a lot of speculation about what happened however at this time I can confirm there was no explosion in or around the mine. This investigation is being treated as sudden deaths as opposed to a homicide inquiry and we are not looking for anyone else in connection to the deaths".

Mr Patterson said the weekend's double tragedy showed the inherent risks to life of operating petrol powered engines such as generators in confined spaces and people must exercise the utmost care and diligence in operating these machines.

"This is another case that shows the risks to people's lives when they dabble in the manufacture of controlled drugs such as Methamphetamine. People need to realise that cooking controlled drugs poses a high risk to themselves and others around them.

"In addition to that, in this case the question has to be asked where were the volatile waste materials associated with the manufacture of this drug being dumped. These waste products are highly toxic and pose a risk not just to people's health but to the environment as well."

Anyone with any information on illegal drug manufacture is asked to contact your nearest Police station- your call will be treated in confidence, alternatively information can be left with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.