31 Dec 2014

Mother defends son after arrest

2:22 pm on 31 December 2014

A 21-year-old man described by police as a person of interest in a Tawa homicide investigation has appeared in the Porirua District Court on unrelated charges.

Detective Senior Sergeant John van den Heuvel said Chance Slade Rameka was arrested yesterday for failing to attend court and breaching a community work order.

Mr Rameka remained a person of interest in the inquiry into the death of Bruce Coker, 49, who was found injured in a Tawa street on 20 December and died in hospital three days later, Mr van den Heuvel said.

However, his appearance before a Justice of the Peace in Porirua District Court this morning was on outstanding warrants and possession of methamphetamine charges.

Mr Rameka was remanded in custody to appear in the Wellington District Court next Monday.

His mother, Sarah Rameka, said her son did not turn himself in to police over the charges because he did not want to spend his birthday in jail.

She said two months ago her son was sentenced to six months in prison on separate charges to the homicide investigation and fled the dock to avoid jail.

She said yesterday she saw him for the first time since he fled, and he denied being involved in the assault.

"I said, look, you're in the paper, you better go and sort it out," she said.

"'Oh Mum, I'm 21 - just wait 'til I'm finished.' That's all he said. Just, 'It's my 21st today, just wait, Mum.' And he said, 'It wasn't me, Mum, it wasn't me.'"

Ms Rameka said her son was only of interest in the homicide investigation because police thought he was at a family function on the street in which Mr Coker was assaulted.