Sounds murders – competing claims

Tomorrow Ian Wishart is launching “The book that solves an 18 year long murder mystery”.

Possibly trying to beat Wishart to a killer blow to the case the Herald has an ‘exclusive’ (that I first saw on TV1’s Breakfast):

Exclusive: Report blames Sounds murders on drugs syndicate

A confidential report into the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope has emerged with the startling claim the infamous “mystery ketch” has been identified, with those on board, and the infamous crime had nothing to do with Scott Watson, now serving 19 years inside for the double-killing.

It’s not very confidential now.

The report is the latest public investigative effort into a disappearance. It was written based on research by commercial pilot, engineer and sailor Warwick Jenness with help from yachtie Mike Kalaugher and Keith Hunter, who wrote Trial By Trickery about the case.

The group’s report was leaked to the Herald – the authors have not sought to make its findings public.

It claims to have identified the ketch first thought by police to be linked to the Hope/Smart disappearance, based on the description by a water taxi operator who dropped them off early on January 1, 1998.

The report includes a distant and grainy snap of a woman the authors say is Hope, 17, taken at Marys Bay five days after she and Smart, 21, were said to have been killed following a 1997 New Year’s Eve party.

The report claims this photograph shows Olivia Hope at Marys Bay five days after her supposed death. Photo / Supplied

But Wishart disagrees.

The emergence of the report by the self-styled Maritime Research Group comes ahead of the publication tomorrow of a new book by author and investigative journalist Ian Wishart, which also claims to have identified the ketch, initially the focus of police inquiries.

Last night, Wishart said he knew of the Maritime Research Group report. But he said his book, Elementary, “reaches a different conclusion”.

Presumably they can’t both be right. And there seems to be a third opinion – the police.

A police spokesperson confirmed last night it was “aware of this group and their theories regarding the case”.

“There is nothing in their correspondence that convinces police that anyone other than Scott Watson was responsible for the deaths of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope.”

So I expect the debate will continue.

The report paints the ketch as having a central role in the smuggling of cocaine. At least one of those named in the report and linked to the ketch is serving a lengthy prison term in the Oceania region after being caught at sea with a lot of cocaine.

The report again pits police against the yachting community.

“Any yachtie who looks at the practical side of what happened quickly comes to the conclusion this case presented by the police could never have happened … it’s full of holes,” said Mr Jenness.

Wishart’s book tomorrow may bust the case open. Or it may be disputed, like this report.


Leave a comment


  1. Jeeves

     /  28th January 2016

    Innocent citizen, guilty police. Yet again.

  2. Brown

     /  28th January 2016

    I’ll take Wishart over the police any day. Just get a conviction, don’t care who but prefer its someone we don’t like. Useless and an enduring disgrace.

  3. Jen

     /  28th January 2016

    Can I please have contact details of the maritime group

  4. Timoti

     /  28th January 2016

    “So I expect the debate will continue.”

    There will be no debate for Wishart. He has stated in the Herald he has solved this case.

    “Publisher Ian Wishart says a new book will finally solve the infamous Marlborough Sounds murder case.”

    Wisharts reputation is on the line. I hope for his sake he right because he he done good work over the years bringing little know facts to light. I personally won’t be wasting time on him again if the facts don’t match the hype.

    • Rob

       /  28th January 2016

      I hope he’s right. Always been skeptical of the investigations. If Watson is found to be innocent, I hope he takes them to the cleaners.

      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  28th January 2016

        The police will continue to protect their own in terms of the Scott Watson case – I’m afraid we would need a hi-res, close up video of the real culprit in the actual act of killing one of the 2 victims for the Police to take any action.

    • John Schmidt

       /  28th January 2016

      Prepare to be dissapointment.

  5. Nelly Smickers

     /  28th January 2016





    This grainy video, provided to police by an amateur sleuth, who only wishes to be known as ‘Ian’, claims to show Olivia looking out the window of a flying saucer on her way to Mars, proving once and for all Scott Watson is innocent.

    In the video, leaked here to ‘Your NZ’, it clearly shows Olivia peering out the flight-deck windscreen, which you can view at around the 4min. 46sec.mark

    Eketahuna police, who were recently given this explosive new evidence, have refused to comment.

    • Blazer

       /  28th January 2016

      love it!

      • Nelly Smickers

         /  28th January 2016

        Just listened to Gerald Hope being interviewed by Larry Williams on ZB.

        Gerald has been given an advance copy of Wisharts book, and while he sez “he finds it interesting and informative'”, it sounded to me he was still more inclined to favor the evidence I broke here today on Your NZ .

        Remember, you heard it here first 🙂

    • Mike C

       /  28th January 2016


      Isn’t it time you dropped your “NellyS” pseudonym and just went back to being [Deleted, please don’t speculate on identities – PG]

      Everybody knows already 🙂

  6. grumpy

     /  28th January 2016

    Yet Wishart states he has come to a different conclusion than the Herald piece today! The Herald story is completely suspect. Are we to believe that Olivia was alive several days later at Mary’s Bay on the “evidence” of that grainy photo that could be anyone? Where was Ben? It seems odd that she would be in public if he were already dead?
    I think I will wait for Wishart’s explanation, he has a great track record.

  7. Klik Bate

     /  28th January 2016

    Either Olivia put on a lot of weight, or the Herald need to update their photo-retouching software – she looks about half the size of the boat! LOL

  8. The woman in the photo looks like my youngest sister.

    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  28th January 2016

      What I took from Gerald Hope’s comments (considering he is reading Wishart’s book right now)

      *The book doesn’t ‘solve’ the case but essentially makes the case for Scott Watson being innocent more clear.
      *In the book’s conclusion Wishart has an unproven theory on what happened that night based on all the information that has come out since the trial – there is no smoking gun.
      *This ‘clarity’ of information has been enough to make Gerald Hope more doubtful as to Watson’s guilt to the point he has made himself available to the media for the next 24 hours and has again requested a personal meeting with Scott Watson.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s