Fatal night out: A town on knife-edge

Featherston, population 2500. Located at the foot of the Rimutaka ranges, bordered by the Tauherenikau River and the grassy Wairarapa plains. This week it was stiflingly hot, the heat shimmering across the railway lines, a bright-yellow bullrush sculpture swaying gently in the breeze.

It's a town famous for its Fell Locomotive engine and its brutal murders. Three, in fact, in the past 12 years - Coral Burrows, 6, beaten to death by her stepfather in 2003; Paul Irons, 36, beaten to death in the park where the bullrush sculpture now stands, in 2008; Glen Jones, 40, beaten to death in his flat on the main street, 2013.

"That's unrelated," says South Wairarapa District mayor Adrienne Staples.