19 Jul 2018

Greazy Dogs discredit links to Tauranga man in homicide investigation

9:42 am on 19 July 2018

Greazy Dog members are discrediting claims linking them to a man whose body was found at McLaren Falls and prompted a homicide investigation.

The body of Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson was found at McLaren Falls, west of Tauranga.

The body of Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson was found at McLaren Falls, west of Tauranga. Photo: SunLive/Cameron Avery

 Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson.

Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson. Photo: Facebook/Mitchell Paterson

The claims come after a police investigation was launched into the suspicious death of Mitchell Paterson whose body was found at the falls last week.

The 26-year-old Ngaruawahia local's Facebook page showed links to several gangs, including a video of the Greazy Dogs.

However a Greazy Dog member, who did not disclose his identity, said Mitchell was not a member.

"Our whole club is getting very frustrated, Paterson had no association with us whatsoever," the member said.

"The video on his page was uploaded, yes, that's perfectly correct, and there may have been a couple of comments, but just because a video was uploaded from his phone does not make him an associate or a member of the Greazy Dogs motorcycle club."

He said he had been receiving continual phone calls from people offering their condolences.

"Friends in this country and as far as Germany have been calling me, telling me sorry for the loss of my brother. We didn't even know the guy."

The body of Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson was found at McLaren Falls, west of Tauranga.

The body of Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson was found at McLaren Falls, west of Tauranga. Photo: SunLive/Cameron Avery

Mitchell is one of three Waikato men to have died in suspicious circumstances in the past two weeks.

Speaking at press conference at Hamilton police station yesterday, Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said there were significant criminal gang links across all three homicides.

"It's a coincidence in regards to the homicides all happening in a short space of time," he said.

"There are links through the enquiries in regards to the people that are involved and associated with gangs and organised crime groups."

He could not confirm the specific names of the gangs in the press conference.

Waikato homicides draws attention

Robert Nelson, 23, was shot and killed in a home in the suburb of Melville on 8 July.

On 30 June, Wayne Noda, 48, was found dead behind the Huntly Power Station.

And on 13 July, the body of Mitchell Paterson, 26, was found at McLaren Falls, near Tauranga.

In the Nelson case, two other people were shot - a 17-year-old man was in a stable but critical condition in Waikato Hospital and 20-year-old woman, Mr Nelson's girlfriend, had since been discharged.

Police refused to say if another man, who was believed to have gang connections and who was in the house at the time of the shooting, was the actual target. He was not injured in the shooting.

They said a fire at the house a few days after the shooting, which caused considerable damage, appeared to have been deliberately lit.

Police would not confirm how many shots were fired in the incident.

In the Noda inquiry, police were still looking for a 2001 Nissan Skyline, registration KAM195.

A vehicle of interest in the Paterson case was located by police last night.

They are seeking information on its movements between 11 July and 13 July.

Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethely said the public in the Waikato region have nothing to fear.

Homicides create tension between gang members - Councillor

Hamilton City councillor James Casson, who is also a former policeman, said the three homicides in the region had created tension between gang members.

The gangs commonly seen in the area included Black Power, Mongrel Mob, Bandidos, Comanchero, and other prominent gangs from Australia, he said.

"We're getting some of these hard and former gang members from Australia being deported back to New Zealand, and they're not coming back here to play tiddlywinks. They are joining up with gangs again here and they just bring a harder edge," Mr Casson said.

"The Kiwi boys that are over in Australia with these gangs are actually used as the muscle and they get quite high up in the gangs, and they have no qualms about using violence.

"I'm not saying they're responsible for the three homicides we've had in the Waikato but these guys do bring a harder edge."

While police urged the public not to worry, Mr Casson said there was unease over innocent bystanders potentially getting caught up.

"Members of the public are worried. Police said not to worry, because they target each other, which is true because they target each other. The problem with that is innocent good people can get caught up in a bad situation - being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He suggested a hui between gang leaders could possibly be productive in easing obvious tensions.

"I want the gang bosses to step up and actually do something about this," he said.

"Gang leaders know what's going on in their own gangs and they'll have a few ideas on who's responsible for this, whether they cooperate with police or not, I'm not sure, but these guys need to get together and sort it out because this can't keep happening.

"If they want to sort this out properly, they know who's responsible for this they can deliver these people up to the police."

- SunLive and RNZ