Sun. May 22nd, 2022


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Shock guilty plea: Man admits killing couple, setting house ablaze

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A man who beat and stabbed a Dunedin couple to death then set fire to their house has finally admitted the double murder.

Wiremu Paul Namana can finally be named as the man who killed David Ian Clarke, 49, and Anastasia Margaret Neve, 35, at their Wesley St home, but it has taken three-and-a-half years for him to plead guilty to the crimes and for his name suppression to end.

The 49-year-old appeared in the High Court at Dunedin this morning, a month before his five-week jury trial was due to start.

Dressed smartly in a black suit and shirt, he gave shock pleas of guilty to two counts of murder and one of arson, giving a nod in acknowledgement each time.

The court heard Namana, a morphine addict who was possibly going through withdrawal, went to the victims’ home in a desperate bid to source more drugs on the night of January 21, 2018.

At some point, Crown prosecutor Robin Bates said, the defendant “flew into a rage” and attacked the low-level drug dealers with a range of weapons.

Namana used a sledge hammer, a cricket bat and a knife to cause extensive injuries to each victim.

Both suffered numerous fractures as a result of blunt-force trauma and Neve sustained 14 stab wounds.

Later, Namana returned to the property, where he poured petrol and set the place alight.

Police later found items of the defendant’s property next door, among which was a piece of Neve’s flesh.

Namana made several statements to the police in the ensuing days, after witnesses said they heard his motorbike leaving the home on the night of the murders.

He initially claimed not to have been at the scene at the time, before gradually changing his story to the point where he had seen the victims dead.

Namana told police he had thrown a weapon into the harbour but divers never found the item.

The police recovered the victims’ bodies after a search of the Wesley St home following the blaze.

Detective Inspector Steve Wood called it a “complex investigation” and he acknowledged the home as well as the people who lived there were known to police.

A week after the incident, he revealed the couple were thought to have died before the fire was set, not as a result of it.

It was nearly a month after the deaths that the twin murder charges were laid against Namana.

The Wesley St flat where the murders took place was eventually demolished after someone set fire to it in May 2018.

Namana was given a first-strike warning under the three-strikes legislation and will be sentenced in August.

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