Wife of Kiwi killed in Panama faces alleged murderers in court

Author
Isaac Davison, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 5 May 2019, 9:30AM
Alan Culverwell, from Picton, died after being shot at close range by pirates in Panama. His alleged killers appeared in court this morning. Photos / FaceBook
Alan Culverwell, from Picton, died after being shot at close range by pirates in Panama. His alleged killers appeared in court this morning. Photos / FaceBook

Wife of Kiwi killed in Panama faces alleged murderers in court

Author
Isaac Davison, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 5 May 2019, 9:30AM

The wife of a man killed by pirates in Panama has faced his alleged murderers in court this morning.

Alan Culverwell, from Picton, died after pirates boarded his family's vessel and shot him at close range on Thursday.

His wife, Derryn Culverwell, and daughter, 11, were injured after being attacked with a machete.

The couple's son was on board but was uninjured.

Three men have been charged with murder and they appeared in court in the city of Colon early this morning (NZ time). There were two hearings because one of the accused is a minor and had a separate court appearance.

Derryn Culverwell had to attend both hearings.

"Today would have been very hard for her," said Culverwell's sister, Derryn Hughes.

"Especially discovering that one of the attackers was a minor, only 17, that would be quite upsetting."

The family will travel to Panama City later today. Hughes said it was understood that the trip was part of the police investigation.

Once the family has finished assisting the police, they will start arranging to get Alan's body home to New Zealand.

Derryn Culverwell was earlier discharged from hospital with her 11 year-old twins. She had stitches in her shoulder from the machete attack and her daughter had received a knock to her head and her hand.

Three members of the family have arrived in Panama to support them.

Alan Culverwell was killed when his family was attacked by pirates in Panama. Photos / Facebook

A staff member from the New Zealand embassy in Mexico has also arrived in Panama to provide assistance.

Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela has apologised to the Culverwell family on local television and he vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The family had bought a 65-foot launch in the United States and planned to make their way home to New Zealand over the next two years.

But they only made it as far as the Guna Yala region in the Central American country before the pirates boarded and attacked them.