Furneaux Lodge

Ben and Olivia remain a scar on our nation’s psyche

The man convicted of murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope in the Marlborough Sounds almost 18 years ago claims he never met, or even laid eyes on the pair.

Scott Watson told North & South journalist Mike White …?that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and police picked him out.

“I think it was because I had a criminal record, and I was [at Furneaux Lodge] alone and I left alone. I told them that. Basically I was an easy target for them. I was the easiest person that they could pick.”

Mr Smart, 21, and Miss Hope, 17, disappeared on New Year’s Day on 1998 after they were last seen boarding a yacht moored in Endeavour Inlet off Furneaux Lodge. Their bodies have never been found.

Watson is serving a life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years and at his first hearing in front of the Parole Board in July was declined parole because he was assessed with “a very high risk of future reoffending”.

The 44-year-old says in the interview, granted only after a judge ruled a ban on it by Corrections was unreasonable, that he knew nothing of the missing pair. Read more »

People are Stupid, Ctd

Stepping off the back of the boat when taking a drunken slash proves fatal:

A boatie was unable to pull his drunken friend to safety after he fell overboard while urinating over the side of the launch they were on in the Marlborough Sounds.

Coroner Carla na Nagara today released her findings into the death of Patrick Gerald Rosson, who died after falling from local man Gordon Hanna’s 7-metre launch on August 27 last year.

Mr Rosson, from Porirua, was sailing around Queen Charlotte Sound and visiting friends with Mr Hanna.

In the mid-afternoon they reached Furneaux Lodge, where they drank several beers, before visiting a friend of Mr Hanna’s and drinking two more.

At 5.30pm they started to make the 90-minute trip back to Mr Hanna’s house at Dryden Bay to watch a rugby test.

Mr Rosson slept in the cabin for the return trip, emerging about 7pm to go the toilet.

“He seemed fine to Mr Hanna, and as he headed out of the cabin to urinate over the side Mr Hanna warned him to be careful; Mr Rosson said he’d be right,” Coroner na Nagara found.

But Mr Hanna felt the boat shift and went outside to see what happened.

Mr Rosson was not on the boat so Mr Hanna turned it around. He saw Mr Rosson in the water with his hand raised and threw a rope to him, but missed.

By the time he turned around the boat again to attempt to reach him for the second time, Mr Rosson was face down in the water and unresponsive.

“Mr Hanna was able to grab his friend, but could not lift him on the boat. He secured him with rope so he would not be lost and radioed for help,” Coroner na Nagara said.

Great tied a rope to his dead mate…nice one.