Invercargill murder-accused cries in court

EVAN HARDING AND CASSANDRA POKONEY
Last updated 13:00 11/02/2013
Constable Alun Griffiths
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
SIFTING FOR CLUES: Constable Alun Griffiths inspects an area in the Otepuni Gardens yesterday after a woman was found dead in her room at the nearby Haven hostel on Saturday

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Invercargill police have released the name of the woman killed in an incident at a city hostel.

She was Nicola Jean Fleming aged 38.

Ms Fleming resided at the Haven Accommodation Hostel in Tyne St.

The unemployed 30-year-old man, accused of murder, appeared shaken and upset when he appeared in the Invercargill District Court this morning.

The man appeared before Judge Michael Turner and was granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody to February 27.

The accused sat in the dock crying with with his head bowed.

Name suppression will be reviewed on February 27.

No bail application was made.

The man was arrested on Saturday afternoon. He was known to Ms Fleming.

Inspector Olaf Jensen, of Invercargill Police, said about 25 staff were working on the case.

A forensic examination at the hostel, including the room where the victim was living, is expected to finish on Wednesday.

An autopsy has been completed.

Police have advised next of kin of Ms Fleming's death.

Ms Fleming was found in her room at the Haven accommodation hostel in Tyne St at 10am on Saturday.

The pair are believed to have known each other but police were still establishing what the relationship was, Mr Jensen said.

The man did not live at the Haven and the pair were not relatives, he said.

The homicide scene has been cordoned off since Saturday, with scene investigations expected to take several days, he said.

Items of interest had been found in an area of the Otepuni Gardens near the hostel but Mr Jensen would not comment on what they were, nor would he comment on the cause of death.

The Haven, which is beside the St Mary's Basilica, has been closed while the investigation continues and residents have been accommodated elsewhere, he said.

Police wanted to hear from anyone in the Otepuni Gardens area between 4am and 5am on Saturday.

They should make contact with Invercargill police on (03) 211 0400 or call the Crimestoppers line, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Father Chris O'Neill, parish priest of St Mary's Basilica, said he was not aware of any death until approached by a Southland Times reporter on Saturday.

The Haven landlord, Robyn Hogan, declined to comment on Saturday and could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Haven boarding house was declared unsafe by the Invercargill City Council in March last year because of a high degree of fire risk.

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Only 13 students were allowed to live at the boarding house, however, more than 30 tenants had been there at the time it was closed.

It is understood work has been ongoing at the boarding house but it is unclear whether it had fully reopened.

- The Southland Times

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