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Author Topic: Obituaries  (Read 9132 times)
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« Reply #450 on: November 23, 2017, 04:32:42 pm »

from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times....


Remembering Manson's victims

3:00AM PST — Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The victims of the Manson family’s rampage in Benedict Canyon on August 9, 1969: Voytek Frykowski, left, Sharon Tate, Steven Parent, Jay Sebring and Abigail Folger. The next night, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were slain in their Los Feliz home. — Photographs: Associated Press.
The victims of the Manson family’s rampage in Benedict Canyon on August 9, 1969: Voytek Frykowski, left, Sharon Tate, Steven Parent, Jay Sebring
and Abigail Folger. The next night, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were slain in their Los Feliz home. — Photographs: Associated Press.

IN THE NEARLY FIVE DECADES since the notorious murders stunned Los Angeles, there has been endless fascination and revulsion surrounding Charles Manson and his cult “family”.

Manson did not fade quietly during his decades behind bars but continued to make headlines with interviews, bad conduct in prison and, more recently, health issues.

Manson's victims have sometimes gotten lost in the shadows of the mass killer's attention.

Here's who they were:

Benedict Canyon murders

August 9, 1969: The nighttime quiet of Benedict Canyon is broken by screams and gunshots. Police find a chilling scene: On the lawn lies a man's body, stabbed, bludgeoned and shot. Nearby is the body of a woman. “PIG” is written in blood on the front door. Inside are the bodies of Sharon Tate, the pregnant actress who rents the house with husband Roman Polanski, and hairstylist Jay Sebring. A fifth body is found outside.

The victims:

Sharon Tate, 26: An actress best known for her role in “Valley of the Dolls”, she was married to film director Polanski. She pleaded with the killers to spare the life of her unborn child, due in two weeks.

Jay Sebring, 35: A Hollywood hairdresser and former boyfriend of Tate's. Among his clients was David Geffen, head of Geffen Records, which recently released a Guns N' Roses album with a song written by Manson.

Voytek Frykowski, 32: A friend of Polanski's, he came from a wealthy Polish family and was staying with Polanski and Tate.

Abigail Folger, 25: The heir to the Folgers coffee fortune, she was romantically involved with Frykowski.

Steven Parent, 18: Visiting the resident of a guest house on the estate, he was just leaving as the murderers arrived and became their first victim.

Los Feliz murders

August 10, 1969: At a Los Feliz house the next night, another nauseating murder scene. Leno and Rosemary LaBianca have been stabbed. “DEATH TO PIGS” is scrawled in blood; on the refrigerator is the misspelled title of a Beatles song: “HEALTER SKELTER”. The writings eventually help police link the slayings.

The victims:

Leno LaBianca, 44, and Rosemary LaBianca, 38: Owners of a chain of L.A. grocery stores. Their house was chosen by Manson, who tied them up, then left the killing to others.

Other murders

July 31, 1969: Musician Gary Hinman is found stabbed to death in his Old Topanga Road home. The phrase “POLITICAL PIGGY” is scrawled in blood on his wall. Manson follower Bobby Beausoleil is arrested driving Hinman's Volkswagen bus.

Gary Hinman, 34: A musician who befriended the Manson group. Family members tortured him for two days at his Topanga home before killing him in a dispute over money.

August 25, 1969: Donald “Shorty” Shea, a horse wrangler at the Spahn Movie Ranch near Chatsworth, is slain. It's believed Manson's followers killed him for fear he was a police informant.

Donald “Shorty” Shea, 35: An aspiring actor and a ranch hand. His dismembered body was found eight years later.

The aftermath

October 1969: Raids on the remote Barker Ranch near Death Valley link some of the killings to a band of young, hippie-looking petty criminals.

Manson, a fledgling songwriter who knew Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, had been to the Benedict Canyon house when the group's producer lived there.

June 15, 1970 — January 25, 1971: After their arrests in 1969, Manson, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel are tried for murder. All are found guilty and sentenced to death.

October 1971: Charles “Tex” Watson, tried separately, is found guilty and sentenced to death.

February 18, 1972: The death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment when the state Supreme Court abolished the death penalty. Now the convicts are eligible for parole hearings.

The killers: Where are they now?

Patricia Krenwinkel was a secretary when she met Manson at a party. She quit her job the next day and joined Manson's family.

She was found guilty of seven counts of murder in the killings, including stabbing the LaBiancas to death and writing “DEATH TO PIGS” on the wall in the victims' blood.

Krenwinkel, along with Susan Atkins and Leslie Van Houten, later condemned Manson and urged young people not to think of him as a hero.

After Atkins' death, Krenwinkel, now 69, became California's longest-serving female inmate. According to state prison officials, Krenwinkel is a model inmate involved in rehabilitative programs at the prison.

She is being housed at the California Institution for Women in Corona. Late last year, state parole officials postponed a decision on setting Krenwinkel free after her attorney made new claims that she had been abused by Manson or another person. The inquiry into the allegations took nearly six months. On June 22, parole commissioners again denied parole for Krenwinkel.

Leslie Van Houten: A jury found that the former homecoming princess was guilty of holding down Rosemary LaBianca in her Los Feliz home while an accomplice stabbed her. She was convicted of murder and conspiracy in 1978 at her third trial for the crimes, just months after she'd been released on bail after a hung jury verdict.

Van Houten said she was introduced to Manson by a boyfriend and came to view him as Jesus Christ, believing in his bizarre plan to commit murders and spark a race war.

She is serving her life sentence at the California Institution for Women in Corona, prison officials say, and has been disciplinary-free her entire sentence.

Van Houten, 68, told a parole board in 2002 that she was “deeply ashamed” of her role in the killings. “I take very seriously not just the murders but what made me make myself available to someone like Manson.”

A state review board recommended parole for her in April, but Governor Jerry Brown reversed that decision. She had previously been denied parole 19 times.

In September, the board again recommended parole.

Charles “Tex” Watson, Manson's self-described right-hand man was sentenced to death for his part in the killings but was later given life in prison after the death penalty was overturned.

In prison, Watson married, divorced, fathered four children and became an ordained minister.

Watson, 71, is housed at the Mule Creek Prison in Ione, California, about 40 miles outside Sacramento, where he works as a janitor and attends Bible studies and services in the prison chapel, according to the ministry's website. He has been denied parole 17 times. His most recent parole hearing was held on October 27, when a panel once again found him unsuitable for release from prison for at least five more years.

Susan Atkins, a former topless dancer who became one of Manson's closest disciples, died in prison in 2009 at age 61.

Atkins, called the “scariest of the Manson girls” by a former prosecutor, confessed to killing actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, who was stabbed 16 times as she pleaded with the killers to spare her unborn son, and then hanged.

At Atkins' sentencing, at which was condemned to death, she taunted the court, saying, “You'd best lock your doors,” and “watch your own kids.”

Her sentence was later converted to life in prison.

In prison, Atkins embraced Christianity and apologized for her role in the crimes, and prison staff advocated unsuccessfully for her release in 2005.

She was denied parole 13 times.

Bruce Davis, 75, was convicted in 1972 for taking part in the killings of Gary Hinman, an aspiring musician, and Donald “Shorty” Shea, a stuntman and a ranch hand at the Chatsworth ranch where Manson and his followers lived.

Both murders occurred before the Tate-LaBianca killings, in which Davis did not participate.

Hinman's body was found in his home, with the words “POLITICAL PIGGY” drawn on the wall with his blood.

In January 2016, Goveror Jerry Brown rejected his parole, the third time a governor has done so, saying that Davis remains a danger to public safety. In his decision, Brown said that the “horror of the murders committed by the Manson family in 1969 and the fear they instilled in the public will never be forgotten.”

Davis has been denied parole 30 times.

The final word

“People are saying that this should be some kind of relief, but oddly enough it really isn't. While Charlie may be gone, it's the ones that are still alive that perpetrate everything, and it was up to their imaginations for what brutal things were going to be done. In an odd way, I see them as much more dangerous individuals.”

— Debra Tate, the sister of Sharon Tate, in an interview with ABC News

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=2f7bec33-3e8d-4fc2-8042-9359f17cb964&subject=Remembering Manson's victims
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« Reply #451 on: November 23, 2017, 04:50:19 pm »

from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times....

EDITORIAL: Let the Manson obsession die

The infamous cult leader became a pop culture fixture.
It is long past time for the world to move on.

By the LOS ANGELES TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD  | 4:00AM PST - Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CHARLES MANSON's bizarre plan to ignite a race war was unknown to Los Angeles in August 1969, as were his pathetic collection of young, rapt followers, his bizarre misinterpretation of Beatles lyrics, and Manson himself. What L.A. knew at the time was that seven people had been brutally murdered in two homes, apparently by invasion-style killers who left little clue as to motive. Crime was up nationwide, the turbulent 1960s were nearing their finale and the world seemed to have lost its mind. The city was terrified.

The closest modern comparison may be disco-era New York, eight years later, when a killer who called himself Son of Sam stalked the streets with a .44 caliber revolver, shot 13 people and wrote mocking notes to police.

David Berkowitz did his own killing (although he has claimed that cultists or demons were partly to blame) and Manson did none of his, instead sending his hangers-on to do his grisly work.

In both cases, though, the killers instigated urban panic, gained media notoriety before being caught and, afterward, cemented their presence in the public mind and popular culture, assisted by endless news stories, books, documentaries and dramas.

Manson and Berkowitz were rank amateurs by the murderous standards set by more recent killers, who acted in single spasms of violence — without cultish followings and with motives varying from marital spite (as in the Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Rancho Tehama, California, shootings) to religio-political (as in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack) to the still-unknown (as with the Las Vegas mass shooting in October). But in the near future the names of those killers will be recalled only sporadically, perhaps with the help of a quick Google query and a check of Wikipedia. The Son of Sam nickname may linger in New Yorkers' memory, but the name David Berkowitiz is fading.

But we will remember Manson.

Why is that? After the murders and the trial, Manson did nothing but sit in prison — as befits someone who misused his odd power over others by directing them to commit multiple murders. He forfeited his freedom and died an inmate.

But the rest of us have kept him alive. While some media organizations (although not this newspaper) have made a point not to repeat the names of suspected mass killers in the belief that doing so gives them unwarranted fame, there is no such decorum with Manson. He is a fixture in the popular imagination, a point underscored in the film Natural Born Killers, itself a send-up of the intimate link between mass murder (or serial killings or spree killings or one of the other carefully categorized distinctions) and pop culture. “Yeah, it's pretty hard to beat the king,” admits Woody Harrelson's clearly envious Mickey Knox in the 1994 movie. Guns N' Roses recorded a middling song Manson wrote. Pop act Marilyn Manson named himself partially after the killer.

It's hard to argue that Manson's notoriety did him any good. Although he was sentenced to death, he was spared after a court ruling striking down California's death penalty statute. But he never got parole, despite repeated pleas for release.

Neither did any of his followers. Susan Atkins died in prison. Patricia Krenwinkel remains locked up, as does Charles “Tex” Watson. A parole board ruled in favor of Leslie Van Houten earlier this year, but it remains to be seen whether Governor Jerry Brown will reject the decision, as he did a year ago.

The place of the Manson killings in the public mind may help ensure that none of the surviving murderers is ever paroled, leaving this nagging thought: If these killings had not resonated as they did, and were just seven scattered murders, would the five have been released long ago? Is parole actually granted or withheld based on the crimes themselves and on evidence of remorse and rehabilitation, as it should be, or instead based on the publicity that can be marshaled for or against the inmates?

It is very much a live question, as California re-envigorates its parole system in response to last year's Proposition 57. For Manson himself, though, there never was much of a question at all. He was such a troublemaker in prison that he was almost certainly never going to be released. He's been effectively dead to the world for more than 40 years, except to the extent that we insisted on keeping him alive in print, on television, in pop music and film. It would be nice if now, finally, we would just let him die.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=7aa0b5a6-6893-4fbc-a0a5-fa0b1f64a654&subject=Let the Manson obsession die
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« Reply #452 on: December 21, 2017, 12:01:51 am »

from The Washington Post....

Cardinal Bernard Law, Boston archbishop at center of church
sex-abuse scandal, dies at 86

He resigned in 2002 amid the darkest crisis to face the Catholic Church in the modern era.

By EMILY LANGER | 1:55AM EST — Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cardinal Law speaks at a Mass of healing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston in 2002. — Photograph: Matt Stone/Reuters.
Cardinal Law speaks at a Mass of healing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston in 2002. — Photograph: Matt Stone/Reuters.

CARDINAL BERNARD F. LAW, the Boston archbishop who became one of the most influential Catholic leaders in the United States before resigning in 2002 amid revelations that he and other prelates had known for years of rampant child molestation by parish priests, a scandal that has been called the church's darkest crisis of the modern era, has died at 86.

The Vatican announced in a statement that Cardinal Law died “after a long illness,” without offering further details. He had been recently hospitalized in Rome.

For more than half a century, Cardinal Law dedicated himself to the church, an institution that became his home after his itinerant upbringing as the son of a commercial and military aviator. As he rose from parish priest to Boston archbishop — the steward of one of the most Catholic American cities — he promoted traditional Catholic doctrine and envisioned the church as a guarantor of social justice in the 20th century.

He began his ministry in segregated Mississippi, where he used his authority as editor of a diocesan publication to denounce racism. Later, as a bishop in Missouri, he made room at a seminary for about 200 Vietnamese men religious who had left their home after the fall of Saigon in 1975.

Law's theology transcended scripture to encompass affordable housing and literacy education. Poor countries, like poor parishes, he argued, at times deserved debt forgiveness from their creditors. Years before Pope John Paul II began his historic efforts to mend the church's scarred relationship with the Jewish community, Cardinal Law sought interreligious dialogue.

On matters of theology, he shared John Paul's doctrinal conservatism. He became one of the pope's “point men” in the United States, said David Gibson, an authority on the Catholic Church, as John Paul sought to reshape its ranks by identifying like-minded priests and installing them as bishops, archbishops and cardinals.

But controversy engulfed Cardinal Law in the early 2000s, when a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation by The Boston Globe, later dramatized in the Academy Award-winning film Spotlight, led to revelations that church officials had covered up sexual abuse in the priesthood for decades by shuffling alleged offenders among parishes.

Cardinal Law was never accused of committing sexual abuse, and he denounced the offense as a “terrible evil”. But for many Catholics as well as non-Catholics, he became a symbol of the church's failure to protect the young from priests who exploited the trust that traditionally accompanies their role.

“While I would hope that it would be understood that I never intended to place a priest in a position where I felt he would be a risk to children,” Cardinal Law said in an apology in November 2002, “the fact of the matter remains that I did assign priests who had committed sexual abuse.”

In the course of legal proceedings arising from the scandal, Cardinal Law was called to give depositions in several civil cases and, in February 2003, appeared before a criminal grand jury considering potential indictments of him and other high-ranking Boston-area prelates.

Later that year, then-Massachusetts attorney general Thomas F. Reilly concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the Boston archdiocese or its leaders. But his office released a report on the matter, declaring that “the mistreatment of children was so massive and so prolonged that it borders on the unbelievable.”

Although not bearing sole responsibility for the wrongdoing, Cardinal Law, the report found, “had direct knowledge of the scope, duration and severity of the crisis experienced by children in the Archdiocese; he participated directly in crucial decisions concerning the assignment of abusive priests, decisions that typically increased the risk to children.”

Among the most notorious offenders in the Boston area was Father John J. Geoghan. Church documents unearthed as the scandal was uncovered showed that Cardinal Law had known of accusations against Geoghan and still permitted the priest to continue his pastoral work. In all, Geoghan would be accused of abusing 150 children, mainly boys, over decades and in numerous parishes.

Another priest, Peter J. Frost, was removed from active ministry in 1992 and later described himself in a letter to Cardinal Law as a “sex addict,” also revealing that one of his victims had committed suicide.

In later correspondence, Cardinal Law told Frost he hoped the priest would one day “return to an appropriate ministry, bringing with [him] the wisdom which emerges from difficult experience.” Frost was ultimately removed from the clerical state.

Cardinal Law, center, appears in Boston's Suffolk County Superior Court in 2002 for a hearing in the Geoghan case. — Photograph: George Martell/The Boston Herald.
Cardinal Law, center, appears in Boston's Suffolk County Superior Court in 2002 for a hearing in the Geoghan case.
 — Photograph: George Martell/The Boston Herald.

In a 2002 civil deposition related to the case of Paul R. Shanley, a priest who was later defrocked and then convicted in 2005 of child rape and other charges, Cardinal Law presented himself as a leader who had delegated many personnel matters to his subordinates.

He attributed the shroud of secrecy about abusive priests to concern for victims and their privacy. A victims' lawyer pressed him on the point, suggesting that “there have been other focuses, have there not, Cardinal Law?”

“There have been and there are,” he replied, according to an account in The Globe.

“One of those has been to avoid scandal in the church?” the lawyer asked.

“That's correct,” Cardinal Law said.

As reports mounted of coverups in dioceses around the world, some church leaders argued that they had been ignorant of the trauma of sexual abuse and that they had treated offending priests not as criminals, but as sinners deserving of mercy. That defense was insufficient for many victims and other critics, who charged that church officials — exemplified by Cardinal Law — had guarded their ranks at the expense of children.

“Many could read his career as a cautionary tale about the perils of power in the church,” said Gibson, a national reporter for the Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (2003). “He became a creature of and a victim of the clerical culture…. There were bishops right, left and center who did the same things that he did.”

Cardinal Law stepped down as archbishop on December 13th, 2002, and later moved to Rome, where he served, until shortly before his 80th birthday, as archpriest of a basilica. His stature, achieved after years of ecclesiastical leadership, made his downfall particularly painful for the faithful who continued to love the church while recognizing that it had grievously erred.

An itinerant childhood

Bernard Francis Law was born on November 4th, 1931, in Torreón, Mexico. His father, a pilot, was Catholic; his mother was Presbyterian before converting to her husband's faith.

As a youth, Cardinal Law made frequent moves with his parents, including to Colombia, Panama and the Virgin Islands. In St. Thomas, he was elected president of his mostly black senior class, according to a biographical sketch in the book Boston's Cardinal: Bernard Law, the Man and His Witness (2002).

He studied medieval history at Harvard University, from which he graduated in 1953. After completing his religious training at St. Joseph Seminary in Louisiana and the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio, he was ordained in 1961.

His first assignment was in the Natchez-Jackson diocese in Mississippi. Amid boiling racial hatred, the young priest helped found and then led an interfaith council on human relations. A Unitarian minister who served with him was shot, according to the biographical sketch, and the home of a rabbi was bombed. Cardinal Law reportedly received death threats.

Later, in Washington, he joined the organization now known as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and led a committee on interreligious understanding. He served as bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in Missouri before succeeding Humberto Medeiros as archbishop of Boston's 2 million Catholics in 1984. The next year, he was elevated to cardinal, a prince of the church.

In Boston, Cardinal Law was credited with helping to ease race relations during the divisive court-ordered busing for public schools. He urged voters to make abortion, which the Catholic Church opposes, “the critical issue” in elections. Politically well-connected, he spoke as frequently as once a month with George H.W. Bush during his presidency, The Boston Globe reported.

In international affairs, Cardinal Law became a visible envoy for the church. He met with Cuban leader Fidel Castro eight years before John Paul's historic visit to the Communist country in 1998, traveled to Vietnam, and led humanitarian relief efforts after natural disasters in Latin America.

Cardinal Law was pursued by reporters as he arrived in Rome in April 2002. — Photograph: Associated Press.
Cardinal Law was pursued by reporters as he arrived in Rome in April 2002. — Photograph: Associated Press.

In 2002, as the sexual-abuse scandal intensified, The Washington Post interviewed Thomas H. O'Connor, a historian at Boston College who had followed Cardinal Law's career. Reflecting on his accomplishments, O'Connor paraphrased a line from Shakespeare's tragedy “Julius Caesar”.

“There's going to be a lot of good,” the historian said, “interred with his bones.”

‘Betraying the sacred trust’

Cardinal Law's public response to sexual abuse within the clergy could be traced at least to 1992, when he was confronted by claims that a former Massachusetts priest, James R. Porter, had molested dozens of children in the 1960s. Cardinal Law decried “the tragedy of a priest betraying the sacred trust of priestly service” but described abusive clergy as “the rare exception”.

In 1993, Porter was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison. Three years later, a Waltham, Massachusetts, woman filed the first in what would be a raft of lawsuits against another priest — Geoghan — whom she said had abused her three sons.

Through a lawyer, Cardinal Law admitted that, as archbishop in September 1984, he was advised of accusations that Geoghan had molested seven boys. Geoghan nonetheless was transferred to another parish, where he was permitted to lead altar boys. Reports of abuse continued.

“It is most heartening to know that things have gone well for you and that you are ready to resume your efforts with a renewed zeal and enthusiasm,” Cardinal Law wrote to Geoghan in 1989, as reported by The Boston Globe, after moving the priest to his new parish. Church records showed that Geoghan had been medically cleared for work.

In 1998, under Cardinal Law's leadership and with John Paul's approval, Geoghan was defrocked. He was strangled in 2003 by a fellow inmate at a correctional facility in Massachusetts, where he was serving a prison sentence for fondling a boy at a pool.

The Boston archdiocese reached settlements with many of Geoghan's reported victims. Such settlements, made in dioceses across the United States, were estimated to have cost the church more than $2 billion.

In January 2002, Cardinal Law issued a public apology for his reassignment of Geoghan. In the same announcement — belatedly, to many critics — he said that priests would be required to notify law enforcement authorities of alleged sexual abuse.

In the ensuing months, Cardinal Law came under growing pressure to resign. His public expressions of remorse culminated with his remarks in November 2002, at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, where he said that “the forgiving love of God gives me the courage to beg forgiveness of those who have suffered because of what I did.”

He acknowledged the “devastating effects of this horrible sin” — substance abuse, depression, in some cases suicide — and sought to assuage the sense of shame many victims suffer by assuring them that the perpetrators were to blame. He urged anyone living “with the awful secret of sexual abuse by clergy or by anyone else to come forward so that you may begin to experience healing.”

“No one is helped by keeping such things secret,” he said. “The secret of sexual abuse needs to be brought out of the darkness and into the healing light of Jesus Christ.”

His resignation came the following month. Cardinal Law later was a chaplain at the Sisters of Mercy of Alma convent in Clinton, Maryland, and maintained posts on Vatican committees, including the one that nominates bishops.

He assumed his post at the papal basilica of Saint Mary Major in 2004. After John Paul's death in the next year, Cardinal Law participated in the conclave that selected Joseph Ratzinger, later Benedict XVI, as the new pope.

Cardinal Law had no known immediate survivors.

In his apology at the Boston cathedral, he reflected on the priests whom he had known in his youth, and who had made an enduring impact on his life.

“They represented all that was good to me,” said Cardinal Law. “Like countless others, I placed great trust in them.”

• Emily Langer is a reporter on The Washington Post's obituaries desk. She has written about national and world leaders, celebrated figures in science and the arts, and heroes from all walks of life.

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« Reply #453 on: February 01, 2018, 02:11:22 pm »

from STUFF/Fairfax NZ....

Auckland journalist Pat Booth dies aged 88

By HARRISON CHRISTIAN | 4:18PM — Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Veteran journalist Pat Booth. — Photograph: Fiona Goodall.
Veteran journalist Pat Booth. — Photograph: Fiona Goodall.

AUCKLAND JOURNALIST Pat Booth has died aged 88.

Booth was known for his stories about the “Mr Asia” drug syndicate in the 1970s, and his coverage of the Arthur Allan Thomas case in the same decade.

He was assistant editor of the Auckland Star when he attended Thomas' retrial in 1973, and became concerned about the police case.

Thomas was wrongfully convicted of the murders of Harvey and Jeannette Crew after police fabricated evidence against him; one of the first cases of major public erosion of trust in police.

Booth wrote a book, “Trial by Ambush”, campaigning for Thomas to be pardoned.

The campaign was ultimately successful, with Thomas receiving a Royal Pardon and compensation of $950,000 for his nine years in prison.

A Royal Commission report stated officers had used a rifle and ammunition taken from Thomas' farm to fabricate evidence against him.

Pat Booth talks to Allan Thomas and Ray Thomas, family members of Arthur Allan Thomas.
Pat Booth talks to Allan Thomas and Ray Thomas, family members of Arthur Allan Thomas.

It was also Booth who dubbed Kiwi drug trafficker Marty Johnstone “Mr Asia” in a series of stories for the Auckland Star in 1978.

He uncovered Johnstone's international drug syndicate and pursued it for more than a year — a crusade that led to death threats and break-ins at his family home.

Booth died in a Kumeu rest home on Wednesday.

Fairfax Media's former head of Auckland suburban newspapers, Matthew Gray, worked under Booth when he was editor-in-chief, and was mentored by him before taking on the role himself.

He said Booth was a stalwart of his community and a formidable investigative journalist.

“He was a man of superior intellect and wit, and it was a privilege to work with him and to benefit from his wisdom,” said Gray.

“He certainly led the way in New Zealand journalism and it was great to see him in action and just be a part of the whole Pat Booth world, and it's a great shame that he's passed on; there will never be another one like him.”

Pat Booth's legacy will be long remembered, former colleagues say. — Photograph: Fiona Goodall.
Pat Booth's legacy will be long remembered, former colleagues say. — Photograph: Fiona Goodall.

PJ Taylor, news director for STUFF's Eastern Courier and Papakura Courier, described Booth as a “pioneering journalism legend”.

“People often struggle to remember the names of journalists in New Zealand, but Pat Booth was one that stuck,” said Taylor.

“It was a sign of respect for his integrity and impartiality that Pat Booth was probably the only journalist in Auckland that could hold a senior journalism job and be a people's elected representative, at the same time.”

“That was during the early 2000s, when Pat was a much-admired East Auckland resident and chairman of the Howick Community Board, in the former Manukau City Council jurisdiction, while being our editor-in-chief at Suburban Newspapers Ltd.”

Outside of the general news rounds, Booth was also an avid sports fan and penned a biography about the All Black Don “The Boot” Clarke, which was a national best-seller, Taylor said.

“His passing is really the end on an era for the pioneering campaigning journalist.”

More than 60 years after he started as a rookie reporter at the Hawera Star, Booth was a columnist for Fairfax Media in his later years. He was also a member of the Waitemata District Health Board for more than a decade.

The DHB's chief executive Dr Dale Bramley said Booth's legacy would be long remembered.

“Pat always had the community at heart. He was a great New Zealander who always got to the truth of the matter and endeavoured to make things better for his fellow man.”


Related to this topic:

 • Off Pat — The world of Pat Booth

 • Waitemata DHB says goodbye to renowned journalist

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