Wellington Scoop

Upper Hutt murder inquiry narrows list of suspects to 12 people

News from NZ Police
Tomorrow marks one year since 30-year-old Lois Tolley was murdered in her Upper Hutt home.

Detective Senior Sergeant Glenn Barnett, Officer in Charge of Operation Archer, says that despite the time passed, the investigation team is absolutely confident arrests will be made and the people responsible for Lois’ death will be held accountable.

“Although there have been no quick arrests, Police and the investigation team of approximately 12 staff are still fully committed to solving this murder.”

The investigation team has worked through over 130 persons of interest and have now narrowed that list down to about 12 people, who were either directly involved in committing the murder, helped plan the attack on Lois, or assisted the killers after the murder. This list includes both men and women, some of whom were known to Lois.

“A large amount of evidence has been collected to build up a full picture of events on the night of Friday 9 December 2016. We are also gaining an increasing amount of direct or first-hand evidence needed to put this matter before the court,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Barnett.

“Over the course of the investigation we have spoken to at least 15 people who have direct knowledge of who planned the attack, committed the murder and actively helped to cover up the offenders’ involvement. However, up until this point they have refused to assist Police in a way that would help us progress the investigation.

“We are seeing this attitude slowly changing with a number of people starting to come forward with valuable information, and we thank them for their assistance.

“However, we still need more of the people, who have spoken with the offenders, to contact us.

“There are people in our community who are close to the Tolley family who still haven’t spoken with Police. These people need to come forward, give Police their information so we can bring this investigation to a conclusion,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Barnett.

Wellington Police are asking for direct contact from anyone who has not previously contacted, or spoken with police, but who may have new or extra information that would assist the homicide investigation. They can contact Police by ringing (04) 381 2000 or by private messaging the Wellington Police Facebook page.

On Saturday 10 October, Lois Tolley’s mother Cathrine and over 50 friends gathered in an Upper Hutt park to remember a daughter, loved family member and friend who was killed just before midnight on 9 December last year.

As about 100 balloons were released a close group, mainly from the Upper Hutt community, reflected, told stories and shared memories of a young woman’s life cut short in a few terrifying moments inside her home in Upper Hutt.

The meeting of friends and family was an extremely emotional time for Cathrine and family who attended knowing that the one-year anniversary of Lois’ death was approaching.

Cathrine told police that “Words cannot describe how we all feel, it feels like just yesterday that these cowards took her from us, the pain does not get any easier. We miss Lois so much, this has devastated our family and her friends, they stole her future from her and all of us.”