13 Feb 2024

Khandallah residents share relief over Helen Gregory homicide arrest

7:30 pm on 13 February 2024
Police continuing with their investigation at Baroda Street in Khandallah where a 79-year-old woman was found dead.

Police at Helen Gregory's home. Photo: RNZ / Ashleigh McCaull

People in Khandallah are relieved police have arrested and charged a 52-year-old woman for the murder of their fellow resident Helen Gregory.

The 79-year-old was found dead in her Baroda Street home three weeks ago, after what police said was a "violent act".

The accused appeared in the Wellington District Court on Tuesday, keeping her head bowed and staring down at the floor for most of the proceeding.

She was granted interim name suppression to protect her right to a fair trial and police are now examining her home.

Craig Dunshea owns Dunshea's Deli at the bottom of Baroda Street.

He said the police have done a "fantastic" job on the case and he was pleased an arrest has been made.

Police search a landfill in Porirua on 9 February, 2024, as part of a homicide investigation after the death of an elderly woman in the Wellington suburb of Khandallah in January.

Police search a Porirua landfill in relation to the Khandallah homicide. Photo: Supplied / NZ police

"From everything that the police have issued as far as information regarding their investigation they've always managed to waylay any fear in the community I believe. [The arrest] is just going to solidify that comfort level."

Dunshea hoped the court proceedings were not drawn out too long because he imagined it has been very difficult for the family.

At the Khandallah village, Anna from the art gallery said Gregory's death made her worry about her mum who was a similar age and living on her own.

She welcomed the arrest.

"I think it makes me feel more comfortable with the situation but I guess questions, who was this person? Was it someone that she knew?"

Another local, Georgia, agreed the community still has a lot of questions.

"It happened for a reason. Is that something that the community needs to worry about? Or is it something we need to be more aware of and make sure we reach out to people who are older in the community or making sure they feel like they can talk to one another if something happens."

Former MP and Kandallah resident Peter Dunne said speculation and rumours had been circulating.

"By all accounts she was a quiet woman who kept to herself. It just didn't seem right so that's what gave rise to a lot of the concern about what was really going on here."

He said the court proceedings will provide comfort to locals but it will not stop the gossip.

"Nothing will in these sorts of circumstances, but I think it will be seen as part of closure to what was a pretty sad incident for a community that doesn't have these sorts of things happen in it."

The accused has been remanded in custody until a hearing next month.

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