An Auckland grandmother has today denied murdering a man by deliberately setting fire to his house.
Peter Dixon, 77, died in the bedroom of his Manurewa home in February last year. At the time, the Fire Service said nothing suggested the fire was suspicious.
However, 18 months later, after a "lengthy and complex investigation" police charged a 47-year-old grandmother of five with his murder.
She also faces four charges of arson, four of theft and one of attempted arson.
The woman, who police confirmed was known to the victim, appeared in the High Court in Auckland this morning where her counsel, Peter Winter, confirmed not guilty pleas to all charges on her behalf.
She had been granted interim name suppression in the Manukau District Court at her first appearance.
This morning Justice Timothy Brewer extended the order until her trial.
Winter told of the extreme stress the police inquiry and subsequent charges had on his client and said publication of her name might result in the deterioration of her fragile mental state.
Adding to that was the alleged murderer's fear that her grandchildren would be identified and suffer as a result.
Justice Brewer said no definitive medical evidence was before the court confirming publication of her name would result in a breakdown in her mental health. However, he was sufficiently persuaded the risk could not be taken.
The woman was remanded on bail and will appear again in the High Court in November.
She is due to stand trial in August next year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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