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Murdered couple laid to rest after 82 years apart

In 1933, married couple Samuel and Christobel Pender Lakey were murdered by their neighbour on their farm near Huntly, and now, 82 years later, Samuel’s body has been laid to rest with his wife’s.

 
 

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The man’s body had been used for years as an instructional tool for the police department, to show that a whole body wasn’t required to find a killer, before being stored at the police museum in Porirua.

But he is now buried with his wife in Huntly, after the museum spent three years repatriating the skeletons of 37 people in storage back to their homes and families. The Lakeys had no relatives, even then, and Christobel had been buried in an unmarked grave until now.

The story was groundbreaking at the time, hence Samuel’s body being used for teaching. A neighbour, William Alfred Bayley, shot the husband before trying to burn his body and possessions, to make it looked like Samuel had killed his wife.

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A seven-week investigation followed in 1933, and when they found the burnt body, not much remained, but there was enough to show that he had been shot, thus proving the case despite the lack of a full skeleton.

Western Waikato Area Commander, Inspector Naila Hassan explained: “The Crown was able to prove that the couple’s neighbour William Alfred Bayley murdered the couple and tried to stage things to appear that the deaths were a murder-suicide.

“But his plan was thwarted by neighbours who went to investigate why the couple’s cows hadn’t been milked that morning.

“They discovered Christobel’s body and it was established she had suffered a heavy blow to her face and her head had been held underwater in the duck pond.

“Human remains and bits of clothing were found in Bayley’s garden, bloodstains were found on his sledge and guns missing from the Lakey home were located in a swamp on Bayley’s farm.

“This and other evidence helped establish the murderer had shot Samuel Lakey and burned his body in a drum. Bayley was convicted for the double murder and hanged at Mt Eden Prison on July 20, 1934.”

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Joyce Sanson, whose grandfather discovered Christobel’s body, recalled to Radio New Zealand about the murderer: “Oh, he was just a bad man, I think, I can remember him vividly.

“I remember my mother telling me when I got older, that she found him a very scary and arrogant man.”

 
 

 
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