The mental state of a driver who allegedly killed a New Plymouth mother in a hit and run will be assessed.
Matthew Kinghorn, 27, appeared in the New Plymouth District Court before Judge Josephine Bouchier this morning, where police withdrew the charge of manslaughter and replaced it with murder.
Kinghorn was originally arrested and charged with the manslaughter of Anne Elizabeth McCullough after the alleged hit and run on Frankley Rd on Saturday.
Judge Bouchier remanded Kinghorn in custody until November 8.
She also said a report assessing Kinghorn's fitness to enter a plea to the charge will be prepared during his remand.
''Insanity at the time are the key issues for the court to be looking at,'' Judge Bouchier said.
The accused stood in the dock with his head bowed and his right hand bandaged. He offered no plea.
Police claim Mrs McCullough was jogging north on Frankley Rd when she was allegedly killed in a crash then put in the back seat of a purple 1987 Holden Commodore and dumped more than 10 kilometres away.
The windscreen of the car and back bumper were damaged in the crash.
After the crash the car is thought to have driven from Frankley Rd on to Carrington Rd, before driving along Baker Rd and on to Mangorei Rd towards the Junction Rd intersection.
The car and body of Mrs McCullough were found at the Meeting of the Waters reserve.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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