Woman killed while jogging named as Auckland mum of two Jo Pert

Mother of two Jo Pert
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Mother of two Jo Pert

Neighbours of a man accused of murdering Auckland mother Jo Pert say they have seen police coming and going from his house but they have not been told what has happened.

Pert, 41, was killed while jogging in the suburb of Remuera on Thursday morning.

The accused, who has name suppression, appeared in Auckland District Court on Friday after handing himself in to police.

Police extensively searched the property on Shore Road in Remuera where Jo Pert's body was found.
PETER MEECHAM/FAIRFAX NZ

Police extensively searched the property on Shore Road in Remuera where Jo Pert's body was found.

At his Mt Roskill home on Friday, no-one was home.​

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Name suppression for man accused of jogger's murder

One neighbour said they saw the accused on a daily basis sitting outside the front of his house watching people, before he retreated back inside. 

Detective inspector Kevin Hooper pictured at a police press conference in central Auckland on Jo Pert's killing.
LAWRENCE SMITH

Detective inspector Kevin Hooper pictured at a police press conference in central Auckland on Jo Pert's killing.

"We don't know much about him. I do know that he always comes out of the house, like he just watches the neighbourhood." 

The people who live next door to the accused once had a dog. One day the neighbour said he saw the accused standing on the other side of the fence, throwing things to the dog.

"I was watching from a distance - what he's trying to do with the dog. And when he saw me, he just look at me and look at the dog. Doing nothing... He just look at me, and the way he stares, and also that's a bit scary. But I never think he's that bad."

The neighbour said people came and went from the property all the time. 

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Pert, a mother-of-two, was been remembered on Friday as a kind and caring person who was "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

Former teacher Rona Wang said Pert was a really nice and generous person and extremely intelligent,.

"It's so sad to hear this news," she said.

"She was very, very kind."

Wang, who now lives in Sydney, taught Pert at the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Auckland.

"She was really good, really smart. She has two children. I still remember her daughter. She's a very good mother, always talks to me of how she was cooking for the children."

Pert's name has been released after being initially suppressed by Judge Claire Ryan who presided over the first appearance of her accused killer in Auckland District Court on Friday.

The judge wanted to give Pert's family time to be notified and for her father Kevin Pert to fly to Auckland from the family home in Whanganui.

Her father Kevin said the family was still in shock.

Joanne Marie Pert's daughter had just celebrated her sixth birthday.

She and her brother, 7, had also just spent 10 days holidaying with their mother and grandfather, Kevin Pert, in Taupo over the Christmas period. 

On Thursday night Kevin Pert received the phone call every parent dreads.

"We're just totally in shock. I didn't get to bed until 4am," he said as he prepared to fly to Auckland from the family home in Whanganui on Friday.

"She was a fantastic mother. She was also a great sportsperson and super-qualified. She was an accountant and had a medical degree." 

He said his daughter was out on one of her regular runs when she was attacked in Remuera.

Police say a man attacked her with a weapon and she appeared to have been able to make it to the front yard of a Shore Rd property desperate to get help, but died and was found there later by the elderly homeowners who phoned for help.

Kevin Pert said: "She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

He said his daughter was a keen runner and swimmer, and would often run long distances from her inner-city apartment. In the past she had competed in the Auckland half marathon.

She was attacked near a popular exercise route about six kilometres from her home.

The man charged also received interim name suppression during a court appearance on Friday.

Detective Inspector Hooper says the homicide investigation team still has much work to do piecing together the events leading up to and following Pert's death.

"Our sympathies are obviously with Joanne's family and friends and we are committed to making every effort to ensure a robust prosecution is achieved.

"Staff were back at the Shore Rd scene earlier today and others are carrying out background inquiries into the accused.

Several other inquiries will take weeks to complete.

"We are relieved that we are able to reassure members of the community that the alleged offender acted alone and is remanded in custody." 

Hooper said the 24 year-old murder accused was remanded in custody to appear again on January 27. He was ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment and was granted interim name suppression.

Police had said the man walked into the Auckland central police station just hours after the attack and handed over a weapon. Police have refused to state what the weapon was. 

 - Stuff.co.nz

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