Woman's violent death stuns her family

MICHAEL FORBES AND SHABNAM DASTGHEIB
Last updated 05:00 17/11/2012
Police
ROSS GIBLIN/ Fairfax NZ
Police examine the Tawa property where a 33-year-old woman was found dead.

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The Tawa woman allegedly murdered in a violent attack by her boyfriend and father of her 6-month-old son was a kind-hearted person who loved helping the elderly, her family says.

Sera Taufale said yesterday that her family was reeling from the death of her daughter-in-law Amanda Dawn Taufale, 33, on Thursday.

"It was a very big shock. When the detective told me the news I broke down, like all mothers would. I felt like she was my actual daughter."

Amanda's 15-year-old son, Liam Taufale, was feeling her loss the hardest, she said.

He was the one who discovered his mother's body in their Sunrise Boulevard home just before 8am.

"We went to see Liam and he just broke down and cried.

"We can all understand that. He lost his mum.

"He's still shaken but he's got other kids around and he's been kicking a ball around with them."

Liam's father, David Taufale, was flying from Australia yesterday to join the family.

Also at home when Amanda Taufale's body was found was her 6-month-old son, whose father Ernest Smith had been her current boyfriend, Mrs Taufale said.

Smith, 38, a West Indian, appeared in Porirua District Court yesterday charged with Ms Taufale's murder.

His lawyer, Barbara Hunt, did not seek name suppression but she did consent to her client being remanded in custody until next month.

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

Sera Taufale said her daughter-in-law was the quiet type.

"But she was always smiling and would always say hello. She would do anything for people."

She worked as a caregiver and travelled around Lower Hutt assisting elderly people who lived at home, Mrs Taufale said.

"She really enjoyed what she did. She would take them shopping and help with their cooking and washing."

Ms Taufale was also a devoted mum to her two children.

"Her son [Liam] played rugby union, rugby league and cricket, and Amanda went to every game."

Sera Taufale said she saw Amanda most weekends and she was always in good spirits.

They never discussed any issues with Smith, who she had been with for a couple of years, Mrs Taufale said.

The house where Ms Taufale's body was found remained ringed with police emergency tape and a security guard was standing outside yesterday.

More than 70 people were spoken to by police at the Takapu Rd railway station where Smith's blue Toyota Corolla hatchback was found abandoned in the car park.

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- The Dominion Post

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