Murdered Journalist Phillip Cottrell Was A British Expat – updated

The journalist who was beaten to death in a violent street attack in New Zealand’s capital has been named as Phillip Cottrell.

British media have identified him as being from Scotland where he worked for the BBC. He emigrated to New Zealand six years ago and was a news editor for Radio New Zealand in Wellington.

In a statement his old colleagues and friends at the BB C said

“Phillip was a gentle, kind man with an impish sense of humour.

He was a brave traveller, forever venturing to new countries and exploring new   cultures. He leaves behind many, many friends in every corner of the world   who will be distraught to learn of his loss.

“He was also a talented journalist with a passion for accuracy and   precision.

“Phillip’s friends here in Scotland are devastated at his senseless   death. Our thoughts are with his friends and colleagues in New Zealand and,   most of all, with his family.”

It is thought that Mr Cottrell was mugged as he walked home in daylight following an night-shift at the broadcaster. He was found outside the Central Baptist Church on Boulcott Street (see streetview below) with head injuries, a broken neck and broken bones.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends around the world who are devastated by his death. In addition to his journalist work Phillip Cottrell was an avid traveller and his blog Airpoints adventure is a tribute to his sense of adventure and joy in the world. He will be sorely missed.

Phillip Cottrell was said to have been a keen traveller and had a passion for visiting far away locations, only to meet his death on the streets of Wellington at the hands of a local thug.

The BBC picked up the story in Britain, including this snippet of information

Det Snr Sgt Scott Miller of Wellington Police said the attack did not appear to have been captured by CCTV – but footage of the surrounding area was available. He said officers were contacting local businesses to obtain more recordings.

He added: “We’ve concluded our forensic scene examination and we’re going through our exhibits from that scene with our experts.” He stressed that street violence was rare in the city.

The latter part of that statement seems odd and dispassionate, considering that a man had just been beaten to death. Perhaps the police are a little too keen to put the attack ‘into context’ for the international media?

It looks even more incongruous when you read an article published today in the local newspaper The Dominion Post which says that violence and serious assaults have increased by over 40%.

Violence increases in Wellington

Serious assaults in Wellington have increased by 43 per cent in the past year.

Police are investigating the homicide of Radio New Zealand bulletins editor Phillip Alexander Cottrell, 43, who died in Wellington Hospital yesterday after he was attacked in Boulcott St about 5.30am.

Three other men were also attacked in the weekend in what police say are separate incidents.

Monthly police statistics show an increase of serious assaults resulting in injury, in either public or private places,  rose from 23 in October 2010 to 33 in October this year.

The monthly reports also show an increase of public place assaults from 62 to 65 in the same time period.

The paper goes on to details other street attacks over the weekend in Wellington and concludes with

Acting Wellington area commander Detective Inspector Steve Vaughan said the weekend attacks were “terrible and nasty”.

This is a selection of comments that New Zealanders left on the Dom Post’s webpage

The Mayor of Wellington and the councillors who work beside her are ultimately responsible for allowing these attacks to happen. It’s shocking that they have not come forward with more than platitudes. This needs action. Businesses, you and your employees are under threat.

Mr Key your government needs to react.

Not surprised
With all the people that head into town for a night out, it’s hardly surprising there are many random assaults, fights etc there are hardly any police anywhere. I’m not against hitting the clubs, bars etc in Welly, I think it’s great the city has a decent night life but with the lack of law about, you’re giving a lot of drunken folk nearly free reign to do what they like, especially when it’s near to or at close time.
Trevor Woolnough
My wife and I were walking through town at 10:30 Sat night, and it was kicking off then, never saw any police anywhere.

Our message here is don’t be lulled into a false sense of security in New Zealand, take as much care for your personal safety as you would do in any other country with a crime problem and a wide poverty gap.

Gay Attack?

Another aspect that is not being reported on by the mainstream NZ media is that Mr Cottrell was gay. Whether this was a factor in his attack remains to be seen but unfortunately there have been numerous incidences of gay bashing in New Zealand. Read Gay man dies after brutal Wellington assault  by Gaynz.

We quite often blog about violent crime and attacks on migrants and visitors to New Zealand, these sort of things are a lot more frequent than you think.

You may be interested in other posts tagged

British Migrants

NZ not as safe as you think

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