Top lawyer Greg King found dead

One of the country's most high-profile lawyers, Greg King, has been found dead by his car in Wellington.

A member of the public found Mr King's body in Dungarvan Road in the suburb of Newlands about 10.30am on Saturday.

Detective Inspector Paul Basham says police do not believe his death is suspicious.

A post-mortem will be carried out on Sunday, and his death has been referred to the coroner.

Earlier this year, Mr King, 42, defended Ewen Macdonald in the High Court at Wellington, where he was acquitted of murdering Feilding farmer Scott Guy.

Det Insp Basham said Mr King was well-known and respected among police staff.

"I know his death will be keenly felt by many people, including those in the wider legal community, which has also suffered a huge loss."

A spokesman for Mr King's family, Frances Jones, pleaded for privacy while they grieved.

"This is a terrible tragedy for Greg's family and children, who are devastated by his loss."

Mr King and his wife, lawyer Catherine Milnes-King, have two daughters, Pippa, 5, and Millie, 3.

Mr King was involved in some of the country's most high-profile murder cases, including Clayton Weatherston's unsuccessful defence for the murder of his girlfriend Sophie Elliott in 2008.

He also represented Privy Council appeals by John Barlow and Scott Watson.

Mr King was born to teenage parents in Whanganui in 1969, where his father worked as a shearer and the family lived in a state house, according to a biography on his website.

The family later moved to Turangi, where Mr King attended Tongariro High School.

The move meant the family was closer to their iwi, Ngati Tuwharetoa.

At school, Mr King participated in a number of sports, including boxing, rugby, badminton and cricket, became the school's head boy in 1987.

He went on to study law at Otago University and was admitted to the bar in 1993, taking a position with leading criminal defence barrister Judith Ablett-Kerr, QC.

The pair worked together on a number of complex legal cases, including the two trials of microbiologist Dr Vicky Calder, who was acquitted of poisoning her husband.

After three years, Mr King left to start his own legal practice in Lower Hutt, but continued to work with Ms Ablett-Kerr on cases including Peter Ellis' appeals and Weatherston's trial.

Mr King was also an avid art and car lover, and presented the legal programme Court Report on the now-defunct TVNZ7.

He was last year diagnosed with diabetes.