5 Dec 2011

Arrest made in longest running cold case

7:36 pm on 5 December 2011

Police say a 32-year-old homicide inquiry that has led to a 70-year-old Rotorua man's arrest could end up being the longest running cold case to reach a conclusion in this country.

The accused, who has interim name suppression, has been charged with the murder of Rodney Tahu at a Turangi service station in 1979.

Reports from the time say the service station had just closed when Mr Tahu, who worked there, was shot.

He was found by a night security officer and was taken to Te Awamutu Hospital where he died.

Detective Inspector Mark Loper says cold cases are regularly reviewed but a breakthrough after 32 years does not happen very often.

"To my knowledge this would be the longest running cold case, or homicide, that's actually been concluded.

"Concluded in that someone has been arrested and been put before the court," he said.

The accused appeared in Rotorua District Court on Monday.

He was released on bail with strict conditions.

These include a curfew from 9pm to 7am, reporting to the police station and not talking to any witnesses.