Revealed: The identity of secret Witness C whose false testimony helped send David Tamihere to jail for 20 years for the 1990 Swedish backpacker murders

Source: 1News

The identity of the prisoner whose false testimony in 1990 helped send David Tamihere to jail for 20 years for a double murder in the Coromandel can now be revealed.

Robert Conchie Harris (wearing tie and facing camera).

He is Robert Conchie Harris, who had originally been convicted of the double murder of a couple near Whangarei in 1983.

Last year Harris was jailed for a further eight years after being successfully prosecuted, by jailhouse lawyer Arthur Taylor, on eight counts of perjury, including in the Tamihere case.

Harris was given permanent name suppression after Tamihere's 1990 conviction but that was revoked after last year's perjury convictions and replaced with interim suppression until Witness C's final appeal. Witness C has now abandoned his appeal against the perjury convictions.

Sven Urban Hoglin's body was found in 1991, 73km from where police said he died. Heidi Paakkonen's body has never been found.

David Tamahere

The Tamihere case

Urban Höglin and Heidi Paakkonen

In 1990,Tamihere was convicted of the murders of Swedish backpackers Sven Urban Hoglin, 23, and fiancee Heidi Birgitta Paakkonen, 21, who disappeared while tramping in the Coromandel, in 1989.

His conviction was based largely on the testimony of inmates, including Harris, with Tamihere maintaining his innocence throughout. 

Secret Witness C, one of the former prisoners who had testified against Tamihere at his murder trial, was found guilty of perjury in 2017.