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Crossbow Accused Dies Three Years After Murder Acquittal

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

(Crcts headline of H9195)

Christchurch, Jan 13 NZPA - A man acquitted in a famous crossbow murder trial has died and the latest prosecution against him -- receiving stolen property -- was stayed at court today.

Dean Christopher Pender was due for trial in Christchurch District Court next week.

But when the case was called at a pre-trial conference today, Judge Jane Farish told the court that Pender had died.

Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes asked the judge to issue a stay of proceedings to end the matter.

Pender, 25, had struggled with continued offending and health problems.

He had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder which had affected his education.

The court heard about his health problems in March 2007, when he was being sentenced on a charge of stealing a $100,000 Nissan Skyline Godzilla car and stripping it for parts -- one of four young men who had admitted the offending.

Pender received a one-year jail term but walked out of court, for humanitarian reasons.

He was undergoing dialysis four times a week for kidney failure and was likely to have needed a kidney transplant.

That day, Judge David Saunders granted home detention but deferred the start of it so Pender's application could be heard by the Parole Board before the term began.

Because of his health problems, he was seen as a low risk of reoffending. There were concerns that the electronic ankle bracelet worn by people on home detention could interfere with other electronic equipment at the hospital.

Pender had served prison terms for stealing cars, burglary, receiving, and was also sentenced for attempting to defeat the course of justice by telephoning a witness from prison and urging him to say nothing.

In October 2005 he went on trial for murder in the High Court at Christchurch, but claimed self defence in the confrontation between himself armed with a crossbow and Anton Nauer armed with nun-chukkas.

A group of three men had gone to Pender's Wainoni home late at night to demand that he pay for damage from an earlier incident.

While Mr Nauer advanced on Pender, threatening him and brandishing the num-chukkas, Pender shot him in the abdomen at point-blank range with a crossbow bolt that had four special cutting blades with a span of 30mm.

According to pathologist Dr Martin Sage, Mr Nauer suffered "torrential blood loss" and died in hospital a few hours later.

During the trial, defence counsel Doug Taffs put in a statement by Pender which acknowledged that he had fired the shot with the crossbow and had not cared whether the other man died.

That meant the jury could not return a verdict that he was guilty of manslaughter. It was either murder or nothing and the jury accepted it was self defence and acquitted him.

The acquittal did not mean he was released. Unknown to the jury at the time, he was already serving a 15-month jail term imposed in July 2005 for burglaries and other offences committed on the West Coast while he was on bail awaiting trial.

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