How Killara, near Kerikeri, was destroyed is easy to see from the initial images taken at the fire scene. The mechanism or cause of the fire has never been resolved.
The insurer, IAG, employed Fire Investigator Russell Joseph. He found nothing in the remains that could have caused the fire. No ignition device , not even any real indication of where the fire started – the ‘Point of Origin’.
We believe that the contaminated land was seen as a ‘red flag’ by IAG. They decided that it was solid circumstantial evidence against me and that they would take all necessary steps to avoid what they saw as false claims.
I was arrested due to an unsupported theory. IAG’s Computer expert Martin Jorgensen created the Remote Ignition theory. I supposedly sent a ‘print command’ over the internet to the PC at the house which caused a printer to operate. He claimed that the printer had been rigged in some rather undefined way to cause the fire.
With no evidence of the fire being set by me found at the Kerikeri fire scene. IAG had to rely on this theory since at the time of the fire I was 400Km away in Hamilton with my wife and daughter. We were on a visit to our son who was a student at Waikato University.
It took years of delaying by IAG before it was finally established that the LAST print command received by the PC was on the 8 September, over 24 hours prior to the fire! There is also no doubt that Martin Jorgensen knew this was the situation back in late 2011.
With nothing found at the fire scene, it showed that I had no opportunity to cause the fire! I was acquitted but IAG still refuse the meet the claim saying they still believe I caused the fire but they have no evidence to support that claim or even any suggestion on how I did so.
IAG now hide behind the fact that their non payment of the claim, originally in 2011, caused us in 2014 to be bankrupted by ASB and as a bankrupt we lost our rights to the insurance claim!
IAG created a theory, used it to delay the criminal case until we inevitably were made bankrupt. The theory was proven to have been false from day one but IAG now refuse to pay us because the delays they caused forced us to be bankrupted and we lost the rights to the claim!
Useful things theories!
I always thought INSURERS had to act in GOOD FAITH!
Were their actions here in GOOD FAITH?
I didn’t cause the fire, so who did?
At first we accepted the words of Kerikeri detective, DS Sam Binden and FSO Craig Bain, who at the fire scene on the 10 September when we returned in the late afternoon, that ‘Vandals’ had caused it.
There was clear evidence of a break in, forced entry, as seen above and valuable items being removed. Even DNA of unidentified persons was found and solid evidence of glass windows and balustrades smashed after the fire had started, all of which was ignored by IAG but was clear evidence of people being at the property setting it alight whilst we were 400Km away.
This was consistent with no ignition device being found, they just torched the place manually walking around setting the, NZ supplied, untreated furniture items alight.
We knew that the publicity we had generated about the contamination had upset some of the local residents. They thought the publicity of polluted land in the Kerikeri area devalued their properties but we struggled to believe they would attack the property and destroy it since that would inevitably lead to even more publicity!
One of the more puzzling aspects here is timing, we rarely all left the property at the same time. It was destroyed whilst empty, we had done one of our rare trips down to visit our son but how did the vandals know this would be the case? Random chance can be discounted, it was a carefully planned attack.
We had told Mrs Oakley our neighbour, wife of Terry Oakley JP about our planned trip. Terry was a somewhat strange neighbour, he hardly ever spoke to us. We would watch him occasionally mowing his lawn wearing a full hazmat suit, puzzled by the practice! We now realise that he clearly knew that his land was also contaminated and was protecting himself from inhaling the dust generated from the mowing. He never warned us about it however.
We had also booked our cats into the local cattery for a few nights since the trip was going to be a little extended. Daughter Ellie, was considering moving her studies to Waikato and was planning on visiting the Art department there. We also planned to see a lady Ellie had been talking to who had offered her and her horse accomodation in return for Ellie training her and schooling her horse.
Following the legal advice relating to the cases against Ian Knox and the NZ Government I had filed massive claims in the High Court based on the damages figures produced by an Auckland based Actuary. The physical evidence of the contamination, samples of soil and water, were all destroyed in the fire.
I do not believe that the NZ Government would have taken physical action against us that included the destruction of Killara, later information we received pointed the finger at Ian Knox.
Ian died in somewhat strange circumstances on 1 October 2011, just three weeks after the fire.
On my website about the actions of IAG in the case against me, I received hundreds’ of comments, three of them over a period of a few weeks all told a similar story of the events that caused the destruction of Killara.
They all came from residents of Kaeo, shown above, a small, mostly Maori, settlement a few kilometres north of Kerikeri. According to these reports, Ian Knox had employed some of the ‘boys’ from Kaeo to break in and destroy the house. They were asked to ensure they destroyed all the evidence against him that supported our case against him.
As a Justice of the Peace he knew the ‘boys’ since he occasionally sat at the District Court dealing with the minor misdemeanors they committed. He had apparently promised to ‘sort out’ a few on-going cases in return for their assistance and agreed they would be able to keep any valuables that they found in the property.
The house was destroyed when Ian informed the boys that it would be empty. A great party apparently took place with the alcohol that they found there. Several dozen bottles of good champagne and a collection of fine malt whiskies!
The problems started later, Ian had promised more than he could deliver. The boys got sentenced and started to complain very loudly that they had been cheated.
Not only was Ian’s reputation damned by the action’s named in my High Court case. He faced being stripped of his JP status and possibly jailed for his involvement in the destruction of Killara. The family home and the business in Kerikeri must also have been at risk.
Days later, his body was found in his car that had driven off the road in Bulls Gorge, the post mortem claimed it was a heart attack but, if that was the cause, it was extremely well timed.
The evidence that supported our case against him was destroyed by the fire, we were struggling just to live since IAG had rapidly refused to assist with our accommodation as they investigated the fire as is contracted under the insurance policy.
We had no option but to withdraw both cases, the lawyers for Ian Knox and the NZ Government were relieved and neither requested any costs.
We have no proof, but the circumstantial evidence all fits perfectly however. Terry Oakley was a JP and friend of Ian, the cattery business had been purchased from Ray White, dealt with by Ian after we arrived. Either could have just mentioned the fact to Ian who may have discussed the High Court case with them.
There was no real defence against the Court case. Ian had continued to try to sell the property even after we sent him the proof that the land was contaminated. He was clearly quite happy selling contaminated property with no disclosure to the buyers.
We had spoken to the last family that he had brought to view the property, telling them the land was contaminated and that Ian Knox knew all about it. Ian hadn’t warned them about the contamination. They were shocked and disgusted and gave us their contact details so they could assist us. We never contacted or heard from them due to the way IAG treated the fire, defending ourselves and trying to sort out the insurance claims took over our life!
Ian Knox was the heart of Ray White Kerikeri, clearly the agency did not warn prospective buyers about the possibility that the land and properties they were considering purchasing may be seriously contaminated. His family members still run the company, proud of their long family association. None of their current ads for property around Kerikeri have any indication that they warn buyers of possible contamination issues.
The RMA basically forces people to sell contaminated land without disclosing the contamination so they can avoid making a massive financial loss. We found that option unacceptable, condemning the next family that bought the property to suffer as we had suffered was not something we could consider doing. We publicly disclosed the pollution issues, intending to remediate the property and continue to live at Killara, the local newspaper printed the story.
To us, the RMA is a ridiculous law, if you sell a car with faulty brakes without disclosing the issue and the buyer is killed due to brake failure you would be arrested but handing on a toxic, dangerous property is considered to be the right and legal thing to do.
In our case, we had bought Killara due to the LIM showing no issues and the Governments assurances that pollution did not exist in New Zealand, both were howling lies by the Government!
KERIKERI has hundreds of Contaminated ex orchard properties.
Ray White Kerikeri sold Killara to us for $1,680,000 knowing it was contaminated without any warning and almost certainly knowing that the LIM report wouldn’t reveal the truth.
We spent over $800,000 improving the beautiful property but it was pouring money down a bottomless pit since the contamination would always be there until remediation took place!
We have not heard from Ray White Kerikeri at any time since we issued the High Court case. The contamination issue undoubtedly biased the insurer, IAG, against us, circumstantial evidence that was shown to be irrelevant when the evidence proved I had no opportunity to cause the fire.
I believe Ray White Kerikeri should refund all, or at least part, of the cash we lost due to their actions and specifically the actions of Ian Knox. We believed that Ian Knox was an honest estate agent when he was actually selling us a property with deadly levels of contamination. Worse, he had probably also done so to Rogan Moody and was happy to attempt to do so to other families of potential buyers on our behalf.
We had been totally conned by Ian Knox, for years we regarded him as a good friend, we went to him for advice on which contractors were reliable and other property related matters! It is obvious that most other members of the Kerikeri community also regarded him in a similar manner.
He sold us TOXIC Land, land contaminated with some of the most dangerous substances known to man, DIOXIN and ARSENIC! He effectively took our money with one hand whilst happy to watch us die – we now have no words to describe how we feel about him!
I’m now seriously disabled with Barrett’s Oesophagus, heart diseases and skin condition which appear to relate to the exposure to arsenic and dioxin. All these conditions started in 2008 whilst we were still living at Killara. Both children and Ali my wife also have serious health issues.
IAG’s callous attitude avoiding meeting our valid claims have left us poor, sick and struggling and all of it was due to the GREED of Ian Knox and Ray White Estate Agents.