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Murder probe after former BBC Scotland journalist dies following New Zealand street attack

By Hamish Mackay

December 12, 2011 | 2 min read

Police have launched a murder inquiry into the death of a former BBC Scotland journalist, Phillip Cottrell, following a street attack in New Zealand.

BBC Scotland reports that Cottrell was found injured on Saturday near the Wellington offices of Radio New Zealand where he worked, and died at Wellington Hospital yesterday (Sunday) without regaining consciousness.

The 43-year-old had previously worked for BBC Scotland in Glasgow and immigrated to New Zealand in 2006.

According to BBC Scotland, Cottrell was attacked while walking home after an overnight shift compiling news bulletins for the radio station.

In a joint statement his friends and former colleagues at BBC Scotland described Cottrell as “a gentle, kind man with an impish sense of humour".

It continued: "He was a brave traveller, forever venturing to new countries and exploring new cultures.

"He leaves behind many, many friends in every corner of the world who will be distraught to learn of his loss.

"He was also a talented journalist with a passion for accuracy and precision.

"Phillip's friends here in Scotland are devastated at his senseless death.

Meanwhile, BBC Scotland has said that colleagues at Radio New Zealand were left devastated by his death.

Chief reporter Eric Frykberg is quoted as saying: "He was a very nice guy. Straightforward and very pleasant.

"People were so shocked. A lot of colleagues went to the hospital.

"When we heard he wouldn't pull through, people went to see him to spend some time with him. He was surrounded by his sister and his friends when he died."

Radio New Zealand head of news Don Rood said: "Never in my worst nightmares did I ever imagine that I'd have to handle the death of a colleague and staff member who didn't die doing their job, but was killed in a brutal and unprovoked attack in the street only minutes after leaving the office."

A post-mortem examination will be carried out today.


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