• 30-year-old man arrested in connection with body in burnt vehicle case

30-year-old man arrested in connection with body in burnt vehicle case

A 30-year-old Hastings man has been charged with murder today after a body was discovered in a burnt-out car earlier this week.

Detective Inspector Martin James, Eastern District Crime Manager, said in a statement today that the man was arrested mid-afternoon and is due to appear in the Hastings District Court tomorrow (30 March).

A homicide investigation was launched after emergency services were called to a burning vehicle on Irongate Road, Hastings, about 8.40pm on Tuesday. 

A short time later emergency services established that a person was deceased inside. 

Formal identification of the victim is ongoing.

“While an arrest has been made, there are still a number of unanswered questions.” 

“We believe there are people in the community who have information that’s of value to us; some may not realise it.” 

“We need to speak with you if you have any information that could help us.” 

“If you know who was involved or what occurred, have CCTV footage that may assist, or have any information that may help Police in our investigation, please come forward.” 

James said that people could come into the Hastings Police Station, or contact police by calling 105 or making a report online at 105.police.govt.nz, using Update My Report. 

Please reference file number 240327/2456. 

Information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

This is the second body in a burnt vehicle in Hawke’s Bay in recent years. In September 2022, the body of 18-year-old Ariki Rigby. The condition of the vehicle and debris from the fire, meant that police “did not immediately identify that human remains were in vehicle.

The body was mistaken for being that of a sheep. Police were called to the scene two days later by dog walker and a further inspection revealed suspected human remains. Police confirmed later that the body was Ariki Rigby. No one has been arrested in connection with her case.