Man’s death ‘unexplained’


The death of a South Canterbury banker, whose body was found by a wooded riverside by a local police officer, is now being treated as “unexplained”, rather than “suspicious”.
Michael Andrew Phillips, 45, was found dead beside his silver Suzuki Swift around 10.30pm on Tuesday at Opihi Riverbed, near Fairlie, where he lived with his wife Jackie.
Fifteen police officers, including detectives, a specialist search team, and ESR forensic experts, scoured the scene near Allandale Bridge, which crosses on State highway 79, yesterday.
Detective senior sergeant Richard Quested, the officer in charge of the investigation, said the death of the Westpac Timaru business bank manager was being treated as an “unexplained” at this stage.
“Inquiries into the circumstance of Mr Phillips’s death have been ongoing since he was found and will continue over the weekend,” Mr Quested said.
“Police’s focus is on gathering and piecing together all available information to be able to build an accurate picture of the circumstances that led to the death.”
He said police are appealing for sightings of Phillips and his silver Suzuki Swift, registration number FWW671, on Tuesday night. NZME

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