A leading openly gay radio journalist has died in hospital after being bashed on Saturday morning, December 10, sparking a Wellington Police murder investigation.
Radio New Zealand bulletins editor Phillip Alexander Cottrell, 43, died in Wellington Hospital on Sunday after his condition declined to the point that it was deemed appropriate to discontinue life support.
Cottrell was found in a pool of his own blood on Boulcott St, Wellington, by a taxi driver at 5.41am on Saturday morning, just 10 minutes after colleagues reported him leaving work.
Cottrell suffered from a brittle bone disease and police believe a weapon was used in the attack.
Cottrell had been taking the route that he usually took home.
At this stage police do not believe there was a homophobic motive behind the killing.
Cottrell’s wallet and the weapon used in the attack were missing from the scene.
A post-mortem examination showed injuries consistent with blunt impact trauma, with multiple fractures to Cottrell’s head, neck and left arm, and extensive brain injuries.
Police later arrested a 17 year old and a 19 year old and charged them with murder relating to the attack.
British born Cottrell had had a successful career at the BBC before moving to New Zealand.
The attack on Cottrell is the first fatal street assault to occur in Wellington since 1999 when 14-year-old Jeff Whittington was kicked and bashed to death by two men who believed him to be gay.