3 Dec 2013

Man charged over Tauranga assault

4:20 pm on 3 December 2013

A man charged with the assault of a Tauranga neighbourhood volunteer who was later found dead has been remanded in custody.

The body of Lance Scullin, a security guard and Neighbourhood Support coordinator who lived in Merivale, was found 12 hours after he was attacked.

The 50-year-old was discovered in the backyard of his home on Sunday morning after being hit with a fence paling on Saturday when he helped to break up a fight outside the property.

A 32-year-old unemployed man appeared in the Tauranga District Court on Tuesday afternoon where he was granted interim name suppression.

He is charged with assault with intent to injure, common assault and participating in an organised criminal group.

Police said early test results suggest that Mr Scullin did not die from the injuries he received breaking up a fight outside his home on Saturday and it is still not known exactly how he died.

Chris Scullin said on Tuesday that his brother helped people his whole life and cared especially about older and vulnerable people. He said he was protective of the community and when there was a disturbance he went out to help.

The primary school next door to where the body was found reopened on Tuesday. It was closed on Monday to allow police to search for evidence. Board of Trustees chair Bruce Delamere said a special assembly was held to talk to students about what had happened.