The Otago Daily Times has published some more on the mysterious death of British man James Patrick Smith in Queenstown, New Zealand who was found at the rear of the Base backpacker hotel in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The comments of the manager of Base (who originally “declined to comment”) are rather interesting and seem to be at odds with initial police reports that Mr Smith fell from a height.
No access to the roof
“Base Discovery Lodge manager Matthew Hirst told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he was unsure if Mr Smith had fallen from the roof. He said there was no access to the roof of the four-storeyed building, even from the stairs at the back.
“You can’t even get on to the roof from the ladder – mind you, he could have climbed up.”
Mr Hirst confirmed the dead man was not a guest at the backpackers.It is understood Mr Smith had been staying at a youth hostel on Lake Esplanade with a friend from the United Kingdom, with whom he was travelling.
Det Miller said while the 25-year-old had no occupation listed, he was understood to be a ski instructor and had arrived in Queenstown at the start of the week looking for work.He had been at a youth hostel until about 9pm or 10pm on Thursday and then gone into town, possibly with other people from the hostel.”
Read the full article, see the alleyway here: Police believe dead man fell from roof
Meanwhile, relatives and friends should wait for the results of a coroner’s report to know for certain how Mr Smith died.
UPDATE 21 August:
Inquests opens and is adjourned. Report in the ODT here: Dead tourist had high alcohol
Similar death in 2008
Allegations surrounding the incident bear remarkable similarities to the death of Shaun Bernard Hogan, 24 from Invercargill. He fell to his death from the three storey roof of Queenstown’s The Glebe apartment building on 8 March last year whilst highly intoxicated.
During the inquest coroner David Crerar said that his death should be an indictment on the evils of alcohol and not the individual. Report link: alcohol to blame
Queenstown most violent place in New Zealand
Queenstown was recently named as ‘the most violent place in the country’ according to police statistics published last year by the Southland Times, with alcohol being a significant factor.
“You are almost twice as likely to be violently assaulted in Queenstown than anywhere else in New Zealand, according to new police statistics.The assault will almost certainly take place in the central business district and there is a 17 percent chance it will be on licensed premises.
The statistics suggest it will very likely happen between 1am and 2am and probably at New Year, Easter or during the peak winter period.
There’s a 64 percent chance the attacker will be a New Zealander, an 87 percent chance he will be male and an almost 50 percent chance he will work in the construction industry or as a chef.
These figures are included in a report compiled by Queenstown police intelligence analyst Constable Sean Drader in response to the growing number of violent crimes in the resort…..
Mr Drader said the problem was particularly serious for Queenstown given its reliance on the tourism industry and the attendant publicity of serious attacks of even a homicide.
“That kind of publicity carries a risk of a downturn in the town’s major industry. It’s a serious problem and a very real problem to the community.” It was up to the community in general and bar owners in particular to take ownership of the problem and begin taking steps, alongside police and the Queenstown Lakes District Council to resolve it, he said.”Read more of the article here: Queenstown most violent place in country