Woman accused of stabbing sister to go to trial

7:09 am on 14 December 2016

A woman accused of stabbing her sister and burning her body will face a High Court trial.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland Photo: justice.govt.nz

The woman, who has name suppression, appeared at a depositions hearing at the Auckland District Court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Police officers found the sister's charred body in the boot of a car parked in the garage of the women's West Auckland home eight years ago.

Widespread suppression orders prevent RNZ reporting why the case has only recently come to court.

Judge Lisa Tremewan ruled there was sufficient evidence to justify a trial after hearing evidence from four police officers. The defence chose not to call any witnesses.

Yesterday, the court heard evidence from Detective Sergeant Michael Clubb, who was made the officer in charge of the body.

He told the court how he and another officer carefully removed the badly burned body from the boot of a car.

Mr Clubb said it was a "tricky task" because of the state the body was in. He said a blanket and a rubbish bag were fused to the lower limbs and the victim had to be formally identified through dental records.

Mr Clubb also told the court that he was present at the post-mortem examination at the Auckland mortuary where the pathologist found incision marks on the body.

Under cross-examination from the woman's lawyer, Peter Winter, Mr Clubb confirmed that the boot was a tight space and there wasn't room to manouvre.

He said both he and the other officer were fit strong men. Mr Witner's client is none of those things.

Two other police officers said the woman admitted killing her sister after a fight.

The court on Monday heard from three police officers. Constable Sharon Hearn was one of the first officers at the scene in the West Auckland suburb of Massey.

She said the defendant was in a bedroom when she arrived.

Ms Hearn said the woman approached her and told her that she had a fight with her sister who cut her on the thumb and threatened to kill her.

She said the woman then told her she had killed her sister and put her body in the boot of a car, parked in the garage.

Another officer, Sergeant Khush Kullar, told the court that he escorted the accused woman back to the Henderson police station.

He said when he asked her what happened, she repeated that she had had a fight with her sister and that her sister had threatened to kill her but had not gone through with the plan because her daughter began crying.

He said the accused then told him that she had given her sister codeine tablets before using a knife to kill her and putting her body on a fire.

She declined to talk further after getting legal advice and refused to sign his notebook to say his notes of the conversation were correct.

Former Constable, Judith Zwezerynen, was another officer who visited the house. She said she found a set of keys on a chair and unlocked the boot of the car parked in the garage.

Inside she saw a duvet or quilt before noticing a human foot. She also saw a torso and described it as discoloured.

The accused will appear in the High Court in Auckland in February before a trial date is set.

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