RNZ’s Peter Fry Writes of ‘Sombre Mood’ gripping Broadcasting After Murder
Phillip Cottrell was what we always like to think of as the perfect
English gentleman — decent, quiet, and interested in the good things in life.
He led a good and interesting life,too, as a journalist at Radio New Zealand in
Wellington – until he left work early last Saturday morning and was brutally, and fatally, beaten on an almost deserted inner-city street.
Raumati South broadcaster Peter Fry, who has worked with journalists at NZ for several decades now, has written abut the sombre mood gripping Radio NZ after the murder…
Death of a Good Man
Wellingtonians, and especially everyone at Radio New Zealand, are in shock after the recent fatal beating of journalist Phillip Cottrell on his way home after a night in the Wellington newsroom.
A pleasant, mild mannered Englishman, well liked and respected by his colleagues, Phillip had worked as an overnight bulletin editor since his arrival in NZ six years ago.
About half past five on the last morning of his life he was doing something he’d done hundreds of times before, seemingly in perfect safety. His was a sadly classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
RNZ Journalists report on hundreds of unprovoked assaults every year but this horror happened not very far from their back door, and to one of their own.
Just a few minutes after leaving work, Phillip had been beaten almost to death in Boulcott Street. He died later in Wellington Hospital, without ever regaining consciousness.
As you can imagine the mood at RNZ House is sombre, and thoughtful.
A question on many lips is: ‘How safe is anyone on the streets of Wellington?’
Statistically, very safe, as the police will tell you.
But as long as there are people around who are high on drugs, feeding the habit, or just plain nasty, there’s always some element of risk, especially for those who have to be out there in the quiet times when no-one else is around to help.
The odds may be long, but a fate like Phillip’s is still not pleasant to contemplate.
So what can we do to lessen the risk? Certainly not sit at home and wring our hands. It would be great to get the thugs off the streets, but that’s easier said than done.
More police patrols might be helpful, but would constitute a drain on vital resources. The immediate answer would seem to be to get on with life — but just be extra careful.
Peter Fry really knows what he is talking about in matters like this: Before emigrating to New Zealand in the 1960’s, he trod the beat as a Metropolitan Police ‘bobby’ in some tough areas of central London (like his father before him).
However, he says, streets were much safer then, in one of the largest capitals in the world, than they are now — in London or in central Wellington at certain times.