Crime Report – Background to the Case
1.1 Killara was a magnificent house, some 495sq m set in 11.8 Ha of beautiful ex orchard land in Waipapa, a small township kust outside Kerikeri, Northland. It had been built by the Moody’s in 2003-2005 and completed by CJR in 2005-6. The Council had supplied CJR with all the original plans and application details for the building works.
1.2 In late 2010, estate agent Ian Knox of Ray White, Kerikeri had introduced a potential buyer for Killara, he finally offered $2,995,000 which was accepted and legal papers completed. The sale finally fell through due to the difficulty, at that time, with getting mortgage finance. It did however accurately value the property.
1.3 CJR and ACR insured their Trust’s Property, Killara with IAG in 2010 on a full replacement policy, fully disclosing the interest of the Killara Trust. They also insured the contents of the property with INNSURE for $500,000 and with IAG for $100,000. The INNSURE policy was suspended when the Killara Lodge operation was suspended and the insurance cover was in error not transferred to IAG. Two vehicles were also insured with IAG.
1.4 Whilst CJR and ACR were in Hamilton on 9/10 September 2011, all the above property was destroyed by fire.
1.5 At the time of the loss, the rebuilding cost, calculated using the On-line IAG calculator, was around $2.5M, the total claim including contents, cars and other terms of the policies was $2.65M, no payments have been made by IAG.
1.6 The property had operated as a Qualmark 5 Star Lodge, the letting rooms naturally had fridge and entertaining facilities built into wardrobes and all the storage in those rooms was empty. At the time of the fire, CJR’s daughter Eleanor had just moved temporarily into the main letting suite and had only taken a few of her clothes with her.
1.7 CJR and ACR had collections of English Watercolour paintings, antique silver, bronze statues, Minton and Royal Worcester China, antique and modern glassware and ceramics. There was a set of First Edition Beatrix Potter books on show in the Library. 95% of the property was totally destroyed in the fire, no trace of the valuables detailed above were found in the debris.
1.8 There is a considerable volume of evidence that intruders had broken into the property on the day of the fire and were at the fire scene after the fire had taken hold. They forced entry by smashing glass with a large rock giving access to a ground floor door which was found open and unlocked by DS Bindon. More rocks were found, having been thrown through glass windows and balustrades leaving the rocks and glass on top of fire debris.
1.9 Fresh cigarette butts were found on the morning of 10 Sept’11 in front of the undamaged barn, 40m from the house, with the DNA of two unknown persons. Small beer bottles containing petrol were also found in the barn, DNA on these was too indistinct to trace. None of the DNA matched any member of the Robinson family.