29 Sep 2014

Assets confiscated from cop killer

1:32 pm on 29 September 2014

A cop-killing drug offender has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cars, jewellery, precious stones and even a rural property south of Auckland.

John Ward Skinner is serving a life sentence in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 15 years for the murder of undercover police officer Sergeant Don Wilkinson.

In the early hours of a September morning in 2008, Sergeant Don Wilkinson and a colleague were fitting a tracking device to Skinner's car. Skinner spotted them on a security camera and, armed with a high-powered air rifle, he chased them down the street.

Skinner shot them both, and killed Sergeant Wilkinson.

As well as the murder and attempted murder charges, Skinner has since been convicted for having chemicals and equipment used to make methamphetamine.

But the police and authorities did not stop there and went after his assets, and Radio New Zealand was granted access to the High Court file.

It shows police brought action under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act which regulates the confiscation by the Crown of property made from crime.

The application said Skinner made over $760,000 over seven years from dealing in drugs.

In Skinner's case this included two vehicles - a Ford explorer and a Holden V8 Commodore with the licence plate 4BNBAD. It also included two jetskis and a trailor .

The authorities also confiscated cash from bank accounts and a rural property near Maramarua bought by Skinner for $127,000. The property is currently listed on a real-estate website for $85,000.

There was also a safety deposit box in the downtown brach of ASB that contained a large number of precious stones including sapphires, emeralds and diamonds - as well as collectable coins and gold nuggets It also held jewellery such as wedding rings and watches.

All the items go to the Crown, through the Official Assignee.

After High Court action the Police reached a settlement with Skinner's long-term partner. Although disputing the case, she agreed that because Skinner had no legitimate income, the court would have been able to find the assets were gathered through criminal offending.

Skinner's partner of over 20 years and the mother of his four children was allowed to keep $10,000 and two rings of sentimental value.

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