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Invercargill policeman on murder charge

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/04/2017

An off-duty Invercargill-based police officer has been charged with murder after a woman was shot dead in the city on Anzac Day.

Constable Ben McLean, 47, has also been charged with the attempted murder of a man during an incident at an address in Otepuna Road.

The charges were laid during a court hearing in Southland Hospital on Wednesday night.

Southern District Commander Paul Basham says the three were known to each other.

He said the woman's name would be released after formal identification was completed, which is likely to be on Thursday.

"This is obviously a huge tragedy for everyone involved," he told a news conference at Invercargill Central Police Station.

"We are dealing with three different families who have been affected and are trying to provide them with all the necessary support that we can."

Supt Basham said the incident had produced shock and dismay among Invercargill police staff, who were also getting support.

"I fully understand the shock this tragedy has caused, both within police and the wider community in Southland," he said.

"While devastating, this is a one-off event and we cannot recall a similar tragedy like this in recent times to allegedly involve a serving police officer."

Police were called to the address at 8.19pm and found the woman dead and the man with gunshot wounds.

Supt Basham said the man was in a stable condition in hospital.

He said the person charged presented himself to the police station shortly after the shooting.

The investigation into the incident had been ongoing through the day, with officers conducting a scene examination and speaking to witnesses.

While in its early stages, it had involved 30 staff, both local and from outside the district, including forensic specialists from Auckland and Christchurch.

Super Bash said a firearm, which was not a police-issue weapon, had been recovered.

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