Tawa murder accused in court

Last updated 11:49 16/11/2012
tawa death 1
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Police staff investigate a scene after an unexplained death in Tawa.

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A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a mother who was killed in a violent attack.

Amanda Dawn Taufale's body was found in her home on Sunrise Boulevard in the Wellington suburb of Tawa yesterday morning. Her two sons - one aged 15 years and the other 6 months - were with her when police arrived.

"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 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 Taufale.

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

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.

Oxnam could not give details of 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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