I’ve said all along that this story is about more than Tony Veitch’s alleged assault and payout. There’s been reportage suggesting that several people outside those directly involved had some knowledge of the events of January 2006 and subsequently. What did they know and what did they do with that knowledge?
Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that it’s taken more than two years for the whole thing to blow open in a very public way.
Today (Saturday 19 July), Patrick Gower wrote in the Weekend Herald of discussions between Ms Dunne-Powell and a journalist in March 2007, prior to any negotiation of a financial deal between her and Tony Veitch.
In my original post on this issue [Tony Veitch, monster or victim?] I raised some questions about the anonymous sources being used by the Dominion Post. The whole thing seemed a bit murky, now I’m even more curious about those sources and also the “chain of evidence” between Ms Dunne-Powell, her friends and allies; and the journalist Stephen D’Antal.
The timelines on this whole saga are also interesting. I’m not satisfied that everyone is being totally upfront with the media, the public, or even themselves.
The incomplete timeline
The alleged assault of Ms Dunne-Powell has now been placed in January 2006 according to the Weekend Herald.
More than a year later Ms Dunne-Powell goes to the police and tells Mr D’Antal about the alleged assault before she tells the police. The journalist then signs a confidentiality agreement with her. Why would you tell a journalist something so personal and then get them to sign a “no talk” deal?
In mid 2007, during the Rugby World Cup, Ms Dunne-Powell contacts Tony Veitch seeking compensation. What was on her mind at this time?
Around the same time, or a little later, an anonymous letter is sent to Veitch’s girlfriend’s family. This is the most disturbing part of the story at this time:
Veitch’s close friend Paul Hancox told the Weekend Herald that shortly after his engagement to Zoe last year, her multimillionaire father Paul Halford received an anonymous letter making allegations about the incident.
Later in 2007 an agreement is reached and Mr Veitch gives Kristin Dunne-Powell some money at the latest just before his February 2008 marriage to Zoe Halford.
In July 2008 the Dominion Post decides to run the story using anonymous sources who seem to know a lot about what happened. Throughout this whole period there was gossip about all of this and a couple of days ago a line in the NZ Herald that said one it that newspaper’s reporters had contacted Tony Veitch about the story 12 months ago, but he wouldn’t talk then.
Doesn’t look a bit strange? There are gaps in the record and many unanswered questions. For instance:
Who sent the letter to Mr Halford? Indeed, was there a letter? Did Mr Halford keep it? Did he take it to the police, as it clearly implied a threat of some sort?
Who gave information to the Dom Post and what was it? Who’s been talking to the Herald and what did they say?
Who is Stephen D’Antal?
The Weekend Herald describes D’Antal as “a New Zealand-based journalist who has broken a number of local and international celebrity exclusives”. He’s fairly elusive and exclusive himself. A normally reliable google search turns up very little. It shows that Mr D’Antal is co-author, with Garry Jenkins, of a 1999 book about Dame Kiri Ti Kanawa. There’s also one entry for Stephen D’Antal at a website called Access Interviews. It’s a recent piece for the British Mail on Sunday: an interview with Alice Gower about her relationship with the gay Anglican priest who recently married his gay Anglican priest boyfriend.
An older google entry is The man who fell 12,000 feet from February 2007, also for the Daily Mail. The most recent googled item placing D’Antal in New Zealand is this 2005 story from the English tabloid the Sun. Hardly a stunning portfolio. For someone who supposedly moves and shakes in the celebrity world, Mr D’Antal keeps a low profile.
Was Tony Veitch being blackmailed?
I’ve got no idea if Mr Veitch was being blackmailed, but I’m sitting here shaking my head and worrying at this like a dog with a bone.
It’s Saturday evening, I’d much rather be drinking champagne and eating oysters, so I’m going to stop worrying for now and see what tomorrow’s headlines might bring.