Taiaroa's 'sloppy' work contributed to murder-accused's crash, police told

George Taiaroa
George Taiaroa

The man accused of murdering road worker George Taiaroa told police his "sloppy" work controlling his stop-go sign contributed to a crash he was involved in.

The remarks were recorded in a videoed police interview with the accused Quinton Winders, which was played to the High Court in Rotorua.

On April 4, 2013, Winders was brought in for questioning about the killing of road worker George Taiaroa.

In it, he talked about the minor traffic crash he was involved in at a one-lane bridge where he and his father overshot George Taiaroa's stop/go sign.

"He got the sign and put it on to stop or something. I remember the old man saying, 'I didn't see the stop sign'. He just flicked the stop sign on real quick, you know, at the last minute," Winders explained in the footage.

After that, Winders and his father Max had to reverse up their stock trailer and ended up hitting a blue Ford Telstar. Police say the minor accident was the motive for the killing.

Winders told police he thought Taiaroa's last-minute sign change contributed to the crash.

"He was sloppy, I will say that, as he should not have done it at the last second," he said.

But he also told police he wasn't angry about the incident, as his father's trailer came off unscathed.

"There was no damage. He was pretty cool. He said he was going to get something about a statement or something," he said.

Winders went on the describe the accident as "odd", saying one occupant of the blue Ford Telstar they'd reversed into laughed after the crash, and that Winders thought he may have been stoned.

"He kept harping on about insurance … I said, 'Mate, look, there's no damage there'."

On the day of the killing, Winders was seen at a Stratford petrol station, and then again at the post office in Taumaranui.

Police say he then drove his Blue Jeep Cherokee to Atiamuri, where he shot Taiaroa.

But Winders' defence team say their client simply had no motive to kill, and police were too quick to close in on him as their main suspect.