Man in court over Tawa death

SHABNAM DASTGHEIB AND MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 14:02 16/11/2012
Police
ROSS GIBLIN/ Fairfax NZ
Police examine the Tawa property where a 33-year-old woman was found dead.

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A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a Tawa mother in a "violent" incident.

Amanda Dawn Taufale's body was found in her Sunrise Boulevard home just before 8am yesterday.

Her two young sons, one 15 years old and the other 6 months, were believed to have discovered the body according to police reports.

"They’re traumatised," Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Oxnam said. "They’ve lost their mother and that’s just awful."

Police charged 38-year-old Ernest Smith with the murder of Ms Taufale, 33, just after 9pm last night.

Smith appeared at Porirua District Court this morning and was remanded in custody by Judge Jan Kelly until next month.

He did not request bail or name suppression.

Police asked for a psychiatric report to be prepared but a forensic nurse who spoke with Smith said there were no issues.

Police believe Smith is a close associate of Ms Taufale.

Police were not seeking anyone else in connection with the crime, Mr Oxnam said.

Smith’s car – a late-model blue Toyota Corolla hatchback, registration GMB108 – was found abandoned in the car park of the nearby Takapu Rd railway station and was the subject of a crime scene examination.

Police were also asking for the public's help in tracking down a second car, described as a teal green or blue 1994 Mazda Lantis hatchback with the registration BDS894 and a red driver's door.

Police say the car was taken from a Tawa house and could have been left in or around Makara on Wednesday.

It was possible the car was driven by a 38-year-old West Indian man with a shaved head.

More than 70 people had been spoken to by police during their homicide inquiries at the Takapu railway station in Tawa this morning.

Mr Oxnam said the arrest would likely come as a relief to the family of Ms Taufale.

"The investigation team is still working hard to understand the exact events leading up to Amanda’s death," he said.

Mr Oxnam could not give details of Ms Taufale’s injuries until after an autopsy had taken place today - "but we are confident it is a violent death."

He said members of the public had been helpful but urged anyone who saw the car or any of its passengers in Tawa since Wednesday to come forward.

Police would be speaking with train commuters at the railway station from 5am today.

Anyone with information could contact police on the inquiry hotline 0800 485 380, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- The Dominion Post

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