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Tauranga public toilet terror (the murder of John Rogers)
John Rogers sat on the stairs outside his unit on Windsor road, Tauranga and inhaled on his cigarette. It was 11pm, on Election Night, Saturday 28 July 2002. The 55-year-old, former teacher finished his smoke, stood up and stepped into the dark night. Only two hours later, he lay in the Wharepai Domain, his life draining away in a pool of blood from a single stab wound to his lower back.
Early on Sunday 29 July a Tauranga woman was returning home from work when she heard cries of help as she passed by the Wharepai Domain. It was close to 1am. In the dim lighting of the domain she thought she saw what appeared to be a body, and fearing for her own safety she continued on to her nearby home to call the police and an ambulance.

Former teacher John Hobson Rogers was discovered by police lying underneath a blue baseball cap bleeding from a single stab wound to the lower back area. The blood stained murder weapon lay nearby - tt was a distinctive carving knife, 38cm in length with a long brown handle.

Rogers was rushed to hospital but arrived too late. He died during surgery.

It was indicated by the trail of blood leading from the toilet block that after a struggle with his attacker, Rogers had tried to return to his car and had collapsed before making it to the car.

Operation Wharepai was launched immediately and police soon received a great deal of information from the public and in particular the gay community. Openly gay, John Rogers was known to frequent public toilets, including the Wharepai Domain toilets, with the intention of meeting other men for sex. However it was not established that this was his intention on the night of his death.

Three weeks after the death of John Rogers an arrest was made. A 24-year-old Tauranga sickness beneficiary appeared in Auckland District Court on 19 August 2002. He entered no plea and was remanded in custody for psychiatric assessment. Due to on going police investigations the accused was also granted interim name suppression.

As he was led from the courtroom, he mentioned that he believed people in the court had been communicating with him telepathically.



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Former teacher John Hobson Rogers was brutely murdered outside the Wharepai Domain public toilets on Election night in July 2002.

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