Police name P-mine victims
Mon, 15 Oct 2012 3:08p.m.
By 3 News online staff and Jane Luscombe
Police have released the names of two men whose bodies were found in a disused Coromandel mine at the weekend.
Kerry Murphy, 40, and Grant Wyllie, 49, are understood to have died after inhaling carbon monoxide.
Their bodies were discovered by a female acquaintance after the pair had been missing overnight.
She scrambled through thick bush and over steep, rugged terrain to reach the mine. Hoping to hear their voices, instead she discovered their bodies.
The woman alerted police, who found a petrol-powered generator still running and limited air when they entered the mine shaft. Officers required breathing apparatus before they were able to recover the bodies.
Police have confirmed items removed from the mine, 60m off a country road between Coromandel township and Whitianga, were consistent with that of a clandestine lab.
Mr Murphy had previously been fined in relation to drug lab testing for methamphetamine contamination at a property where he was a tenant.
Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson of the Thames-Coromandel CIB says there was no explosion in or around the mine.
“The 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,” he says.
He says the accident highlights the risks of using petrol-powered engines in confined spaces.
“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.”
The head of a business association in Whitianga says drugs are a problem in the area, and while he was sorry for the grieving families, he had little sympathy for the dead men.
“Probably the majority of people around here would rejoice at the fact that there are at least two less people who are likely to be producing products that certainly aren't acceptable in society today,” says Gordon Barnaby.
The police believe the tunnel hadn't been in use for long as a P-lab. They say it's the first time they've heard of an abandoned mine being used in this way.
The tunnel is contaminated but the police hope to be able to enter tomorrow with cameras to record the scene inside.
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17/10/2012 3:22:56 p.m.
Tim, can you not offer a more intelligent response? Firstly, it was the Carbon monoixde which killed them, which is not a drug. Secondly, telling kids drugs kill is an insult to their intelligence. How about teaching them the real sceince and satistics behind such chemicals so they can make up their own mind about such matters when they grow up. Brain washing is a failed approach to controlling drug use.
16/10/2012 4:38:04 p.m.
People would rejoice at the fact 6 children lost their dad but yet you find that rejoiceful? Seriously say that stuff where the kids cant hear you not on a public tv channel you.u broke a 17 year old girls heart when she heard that he may not have been the best role model but nobody deserves death or 6 children didn't deserve to lose their dad
15/10/2012 9:47:09 p.m.
ok kids? drugs kill. sooner or later,
15/10/2012 9:17:46 p.m.
What intrigues us local residents is that if we all knew the 309 was and is a haven for methamphetamine cooks and distributers, how come the local police didn't? Or did they and chose to ignor it. Or are the courts getting it wrong in making it bordering on impossible to prosecute the maggots within our society. Yes it's devastating that we had to wait until a death or two highlighted the issue and yes we, the tax payer has saved a fortune in yearly prison rent, but this extreme is preventable. Yes, sort the technical problems at WINZ, but that's a 5 minute job. Sort the real issues like these drug problems and maybe one day, we won't need a WINZ.
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